Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fruits of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperence: against such there is no law. 
Galatians 5:22-23

I made several of these yummy and healthy Fruit and Yogurt parfaits for the Young Women's class I teach at Church. The fruit colors were inspired by the Value colors of the YW program (white is the yogurt, and gold will be the granola we'll add when I serve them).

Our lesson today asks the girls to ponder who she is and who she can become. It's a good question to think about.

You can find the quick-and-easy directions for the parfaits on The Red Kitchen, where Katie suggests using wide-mouth pint Mason jars for easy tranportability. Thanks, Katie!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Quick Tutorial - Sewn Booklets

Last week I wanted some quick and easy mini journals for the class of Young Women that I teach at Church.

I made these little booklets. The girls loved them! Several of the girls were surprised to find out that you could actually sew paper.

Really, these are "sew easy"!

Here's how I made them:

 Use card stock for the cover. Cut it in half, and then fold it to make the cover.

 To make the covers a little fancier, I used three fabric triangles to make it look like little flags on the cover. I got this cute idea from Polly. You should check out her cards. They are fancier than mine. I cheated simplified.

Her cards are based on another idea, which was a darling bunting quilt she made for Becca.  Sigh...some people are so talented. Anyway, back to my three little triangles...

You just lay them out where you want them and make a line of stitching across the cover. I do backstitch at the beginning and end of the line, because the stitches tend to come loose in the paper otherwise.

 I used colored computer paper for the pages inside the cover. Again, I cut them in half and then folded.

 Just lay them inside the card stock cover, and then stitch right down the middle. Be sure to backstitch at beginning and end again. That's all there is to it!

Note: you don't even have to worry about matching the thread color. This is just a little paper booklet, people. Different thread colors make a cute contrast on this project. I just used whatever I had in my sewing machine had lots of fun with the colorful thread.

What cute ideas will you come up with? There are so many ways to adapt these little sewn booklets.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Freezing Fog

I love it when the weather is alliterative...

We had over a week of freezing fog, and it was so pretty. Luckily, we didn't have the slick roads that some areas experienced. Just the loveliness of powdered-sugar trees, and none of the mess of snow.

Of course, my camera never captures everything the eye picks up. There were towering trees clothed in white lace, but unfortunately, they were out of the range of my little grandma-camera lens.

By today it had warmed up into the 40s and we had rain again.

Sending warm thoughts to dear family members still shivering in the midwest.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

World Peace with Fabric my backyard

Received a cheery email from Nora, thanking me for the fabric ball tutorial. Hey, you're welcome! I'm glad my limited talents are useful to the world.

Nora enclosed a photo of her fabric ball.
She said, "Thank you so much for the fabric ball tutorial! I just finished a Cat in the Hat ball for a friend who is pregnant- she is having twins and I'm also doing "Thing One" and "Thing Two" onesies for them. :) I really appreciate the step-by-step instructions- it was fun!."

Haha! I've had moments making fabric balls when they kind of drive me nuts, so I'm glad that Nora is feeling so positive about the process.

It does feel good to get feedback from readers that the tutorial makes sense and helps them to create these unique toys for little ones. 

I checked with Nora to make sure it was ok to use her photo on the blog, and she graciously included a photo of her Thing One and Thing Two Onesies. 

And when I asked her where she's from, she revealed that she's from Portland! We're practically neighbors. That made me chuckle, since so many of the emails I receive about the fabric balls come from far-away places.

By the way...Nora's timing is perfect because March 2 is Dr. Seuss' birthday. If you have any young readers in your life, remember that it will be observed in many US schools on Friday, March 1, 2013. How do you celebrate the day? By reading, of course! There's more information here.

Need some books for a school's reading program? Click here for a program that sends free books (you pay 68¢ postage per book). The deadline to order is February 16.

P.S.  Nora's matching "Thing" onesies. Thank you for sharing! What a darling idea for twin kiddos on the way. I think I can predict some nicknames for these two. :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Snowshoe Adventure

Liberty and I went on another adventure today. We snowshoed to lower Twin Lake, near Mount Hood. This is an "old favorite" hike - Mark and I were there in August with the Klines.

Liberty and I were thrilled with the snow. The marker near the trailhead showed it was 5' deep! It was crisp dry powder...and the thermometer said 17º! No matter, we bundled up and headed out.

 This was the maiden voyage for these snowshoes. Mark and I bought them at Costco last winter, but then never had an opportunity to try them out. They were great. So much better than the rental ones we've always used before. They never slipped off once, had great traction, and are very easy to adjust and maneuver. Liberty used Mark's snowshoes.

 A quick Kodak moment at the trail junction, where we leave the PCT and take the spur trail to lower Twin Lake. Only 1/2 mile left to go, and most of it will be downhill from here.

 The weather was gorgeous. In spite of the cold temperature, we weren't uncomfortable. It really helped that there was no wind except up on the ridge above the lake. The sky was so blue! Not a cloud anywhere (until we got back to the car...but who cares by then?).

 Heading down towards the lake, Bird Butte in the background.

 Here's lower Twin Lake, not too far from where we camped last August...

...another view of the lake, with Bird Butte in the background. And speaking of birds...'s the welcoming committee at our lunch spot. These gray jays obviously know where the hikers will be sitting for the lunch break!

 We were surprised to see even one of them, but there were actually several. We eventually counted 6. We also saw a huge black raven just before we left the lake, and some junkos (I think?) in the woods along the way, tap-tap-tapping the bark of trees.

 They weren't shy at all.

They landed on my hand several times to take bits of sandwich. Not much coaxing needed...these were hungry fellows!

 Can you tell we had a good time?

 I think I took about 40 photos with trees and snow and blue sky. It was all so amazingly beautiful. Given the likelihood of gray days in this part of Oregon, we were so very grateful to have scheduled our hike on a lovely lovely day. It's the only day we could both go this week...and it was perfect.

Back to the trailhead. That's the depth marker with the snow at 5' - funny to think that I'd be standing 5' in the air if all the snow suddenly melted! (Which maybe it will - it was all the way up to 31º by the time we got back to the car. A warming trend, for sure.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013: New Years Day Hike

I enjoyed three wonderful activities today to start off the New Year.

Adventures in home organization
I spent the morning puttering and organizing again. Mark helped, and we made so much progress!

 The former sewing nook now has all of our family history notebooks, etc. It's great to have a space for the photos of our great-grandparents again. They like to watch us keeping track of them.

Best of all, I now have my very own writing corner. The piano used to live here, but we hardly ever play it, so it now lives on the back porch. I considered putting my writing corner on the back porch, but it's cold back there. I love this spot. Spent about an hour working on my book today. I really like the sound of that last sentence.

Oh, why long as I was in the organizing mood, I also cleaned up our office area. This is on the back porch. (Sure, doesn't everyone have a piano in their office / entry way?) I should have taken "before" pictures, so you would be suitably impressed with how tidy this is. Trust me that it was a mess. I recycled coupons and other outdated items that were over a year old.

Sort-of-annual New Years hike
After feeling quite virtuous from creating all these lovely, tidy areas in my home, it was time for the sort-of-annual New Years hike. It's only sort-of-annual because some years the weather stinks, or we're out of town, or we're not in the mood. Today was sunny, and we were ready to play, so we headed for an old favorite hike, the Horsetail Falls - Oneonta Falls Loop in the Columbia River Gorge.

We started the hike at Horsetail Falls. Yes, that is ice along the side of the falls. There was also ice on the road and sidewalk in front of the falls, where the wind was blowing the spray. Shortly after taking this photo, I slipped on the ice. Gravity works. I have a bruise on my hand from the fall, but I don't think I sprained anything this time.

About half-way through the hike. That's upper Horsetail Falls, also nicknamed Ponytail Falls, in the background. The trail goes behind the waterfall. Hmmm...did I mention that it was 33º and the wind was blowing? Brrr...we were a little nervous about the trail...would it be icy?

After all, we saw lots of ice during our hike. Fortunately, most of it was off the trail. Here's an example of the beautiful ice formations--we saw many of them--that resulted from water seeping and dripping off the basalt cliff faces.

Here's a view from behind Ponytail Falls. I'm standing on the trail, and the "cave" roof is over my head. (You can see more icicles that dripped through the cave roof.) Long story short, yes, the trail was pretty slick on the far side of the falls. Can you see the three people in the distance, making their way down the trail? They are just to the left of the waterfall, just below the edge of the cave roof. Yikes! We didn't want to slip and go sliding into that icy pond below the waterfall! We debated if we should turn around and head back, but we decided to take it slow and careful. Mark did a happy dance when we got past the 35 feet of icy trail!

 Crossing the bridge over Oneonta Falls.

 More ice formations. And my handsome fella.

 Almost back to the car - the tunnel at Oneonta Creek. By this time, we are walking the last 1/2 mile along the road, heading back to Horsetail Falls and the car.
This gorgeous tunnel was part of the original highway that was built in the 19-teens. We loved our outing, but by this time we were just plain cold and glad that we hadn't chosen a longer hike.

Time for a little window shopping
On the way home, we stopped at...
I still get kind of lost in there, but I've been several times now, so I can mostly find my way around. Mark and I had fun looking at all the different decorating ideas in the showroom.

Then I picked up several fun things with my Christmas-gift-money stash. So fun to splurge a little, and not feel guilty about the budget!
I hope you had a good first day of 2013, too.