Sunday, 23 December 2012

A Breath of Christmas

Two more sleeps until Christmas. I could use another week!

It seems we’ve been doing a lot of surviving lately. Putting one foot in front of the other until the end of the school year finally arrived.

In the week since (yes, just a week - though it feels like two), we have already made a quick dash to visit the in-laws a few hours away.  Since returning the air-conditioning at the shops has been far more inviting than the sticky heat at home.

Gifts are all purchased now, but certainly not wrapped.

We’ve been madly cleaning and I’m happy to report that the rumpus room does still exist. Which is just as well, my family is hoping to celebrate together in there.

Last night the first of the decorations were hung. Umm, better late than never? 

I’m beginning to breathe again. I’ve decided that bedroom doors exist for a reason. The joy of the season is not worth trading for a perfect abode.

So here’s to happy memories made with family, quiet moments with meaning, and plenty of peculiar treasures.

Happy Christmas everyone! May peace and joy abound in your hearts as we celebrate our Saviour’s birth!

PS: I’ll be taking a blogging break for a week or two. Once the parties have quieted down - the renovating begins! I’ll do my best to pop in somewhere between the restoring and building. Please forgive if I have paint on my nose. 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Star Called Yonder

I was asked to write (and perform) a puppet play for our Church Christmas Carol service. I had a ball putting it together. Sadly we did not think to record it on the evening - but I still wanted to share it with you. 

So here it is, performed especially for you from behind the lounge chair! (Please forgive the fuzzies). 


Thursday, 13 December 2012

A Squishy Stocking Stuffer

Since my last post about Squishy Men I've had a few requests for a how to. I've also had time to think of a few adjustments to make it better. So without further ado...

Squishy Man 3.0

You will need:
1 Pattern (found here)
Cotton fabric – print or plain for outer; calico for lining (though you could use whatever you’ve got)
Sewing thread
Brown/black embroidery thread 
Wool/yarn (for hair)
Needles – 1 embroidery; 1 wool
¼ cup (dry) rice, roughly ground.

How to:
  1. Cut 4 pattern pieces.
    1. 2 of lining
    2. 2 of main fabric
  2. Sew darts in all four pieces.
  3. Sew lining pieces together leaving a small opening for filling (pattern allows for a 5mm seam).
  4. Fill and sew opening closed. Set aside.
  5. Embroider a face onto 1 piece of main fabric (I used 4 strands).
    1. Mouth: back stitch
    2. Eyes: colonial knots
  6. With right sides together, sew main pieces, leaving an opening for inserting inside part. Turn.
  7. Insert insides and hand stitch closed using ladder stitch (twice for extra strength).
  8. Using wool needle pull several strands of wool/yarn through the top of the head (in a line) and knot. Trim to desired length.
  9. You should now be holding your very own Squishy Man!
With Christmas fast approaching these would make great stocking stuffers.

NB: You are welcome to make as many as you like for yourself or family and friends. Please respect my copyright and do not make them to sell/for a profit. Thanks.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Sometimes Squishy Men Die

If you are an angry child in this household, you will likely be sent to your room to calm down. One technique we use is ‘Squishy Men’ (aka stress balls). Ours have faces and a tuft of woolly hair. The storm soon disperses into smiles as the latex face is contorted in all manner of ways.  I suspect they get played with at other times too.

Today there was sudden wailing. Long and loud and oh-so-sorrowful coming from my baby (though really, he is a very grown up four year old thank you very much!). I went to investigate. He met me halfway, balling his precious little eyes (and heart) out. In his hand, lovingly cradled, was his Squishy Man. With a leak. Friends, there are only so many times a Squishy Man will squish.

He laid his treasure to rest in the rubbish bin, then came and sat on my lap for a hug. Pressing his face into my chest he wept some more. His darling heart was plain broken. Apparently this was one very well loved Squishy Man.

In an effort to console him I suggested we would purchase another one – identical. The idea was appealing enough to momentarily stem the flow of the salty torrent. Then the cogs in my brain crunched into gear. Why not take the opportunity to create a better, stronger, model?  In less than half an hour we had Squishy Man 2.0.

The new version has somewhat different features. He does not squish in the exact same manner but is still able to produce a giggle worthy face contortion. Better yet, it is made of more durable stuff. As a bonus, this model also allows for the (sneaky) addition of soothing essential oils…

The whole fiasco got me thinking. 

Sometimes the Squishy Men have to die – in order to make way for something better. It hurts to let go of the old, but the new will be greater.

If you are a regular reader you will know that I have been daring to dream.  I was particularly grieved at the loss of Idea2.0. God has been taking me on a journey. Each time asking me to let go of my version of the vision until finally Plan 4.0 is a goer! (Just need to finalise the paperwork).

Excitement flows through me! But this is not just about finally being able to put passion into action. It is so much more. As I handed over my blueprints, releasing the tight grip on my precious ideas, God has been able to point a few things out.  Improvements if you will. He is showing me how to use what I already have. Ways to create something beautiful from significantly less.  I am reminded of the old chorus…

“Something beautiful, something good.
All my confusion He understood.
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life".

Ecclesiastes 3:11a 'He has made everything beautiful in its time'. 

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