I picked up a few ancient bound readers digest books from our library. They had been donated and our sweet librarians said they would be put in the book sale but they didn’t think anyone would buy them. I fell in love with the vibrant print covers immediately but limited myself to taking only 4, what would I do with a collection of these? So my mind has been kind of wheeling with ideas, it turns out there are lots of great things you can make out of the book pages, including these sweet little envelopes. I have a template for them that I trace on the paper, fold and adhere with a little strip of washi tape. This is one of those craft supplies that you see and then start to SEE all over the place and then finally you just can’t take the cuteness anymore… I broke down and bought some tape last month! Washi comes from wa meaning Japanese and shi meaning paper. There are dozens of different prints and it is slightly translucent, which is fun to layer. Really fun, maybe after reading this you will really start to SEE them too…
Category Archives: reading
It turned wet, cold and rainy this week. The snow will be along shortly. I’m grabbing an extra mug of coffee this morning and keeping warm. I’ve been reading habit.
“Inevitably there have been times when one of us has outrun the other and has had to wait patiently for the other to catch up. There have been times when we have misunderstood each other, demanded too much of each other, been insensitive to the other’s needs. I do not believe there is any marriage where this does not happen. The growth of love is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys. I suspect that in every good marriage there are times when love seems to be over. Sometimes these desert lines are simply the only way to the next oasis, which is far more lush and beautiful after crossing than it could possibly have been without it.” -Madeleine L’Engle
I know those dessert crossings can be a day, or weeks, months or even years. I have experienced varied lengths of those journeys at different points and am learning to embrace it for what it is. After reading a number of Madeleine L’Engle’s personal books now, I am grasping a deeper understanding of her writings and why I connect with her. She is very much an artist in sharing her heart. I am thankful for her words which capture the needs of the human soul. We need messages of hope and images of a better way, a better ending. Her writings ooze her connection with the creator and our need for a savior.
This past weekend our family got away for a quick overnight, which, chuck the expectations out the window, was nothing like we hoping. We were at a beautiful destination (that’s lake Michigan above) but the turn of the weather and above all else our children’s naughty and unpredictable behavior tainted our hopes of a contemplative end-of-summer getaway. A few days later on a walk with a friend this funny little image popped in my mind – didn’t Jesus want us to come to him like little children. Seriously in all their craziness and distracted nature, like children? I love my kids and know they have such a precious side, but the thought of the maker walking into our campsite this weekend, makes me shake my head and ask for a do over.
In truth I think what he is after is the rawness of our emotions and that neediness of childhood. He wants us to chuck our unrealistic expectations out the window and fully understand that we need him, and love him, as a child loves and needs to be cared for. Our ideas of perfection are so skewed compared to his perfect reality. We need him, our marriages need him, and our children need him. This is great news! We have an excuse to not have it all together. When it comes to Jesus we can just be, brutally honest, expose our rawness, and hurt, as he scoops us up and comforts us. Our heart is worn outside for all to see, with peanut butter on our faces and wearing our favorite leggings with the hole in the knee – like a little child. He is ready for us wherever we are on that dessert line (married or not). We need him, like we need that next oasis. He is waiting patiently for us to guide us through the desert to a place more beautiful!
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14
It’s the last week of summer vacation – we are too busy to grieve it. This week has been about 1-on-1 breakfast dates with the girls, parties, friends, camping, bike rides, and movies just because in the morning. I am trying to squeeze every last moment of snuggles and tea party time. I have barely been down to the studio, but I did manage to squeeze a few yarn bowls and buttons in. Next week school begins and I will resume my kiln loading schedule.
I have also been a bit of a book-worm this week, mostly with Madeline l’Engle’s book Two Part Invention: The story of a marriage. There is something beautiful about one sharing their story, the rawness of emotion and ability to see beyond the figures, to get lost in their pain and caught up in their joy. Maybe that is our nature to be curious about others journey not from the outside but in its raw state. I am savoring and pondering her words, I may have more to weigh in on later. For now, here is a raw view of my clay, still wet and vulnerable to change. Fingerprints still visible on the surface as they are slowly dried and waiting for transformation; first in the heat, then their surfaces will be painted. Afterward they will be admired from the outside, the seen form. Will the beauty of the rawness be forgotten? Will anyone see them for the love and personal touch that is underneath? That is the real story, the process, the making, the transformation.
whew – last week was a hot one. I was out-of-town visiting my parents who thankfully have central air and power… I was hoping to use my time to write some longer posts while the kids were occupied but I blinked and the week was over. It’s too darn hot to do much outside or fire kilns soooo I took up a knitting project. I am not sure what inspired me to make a 100% wool hat in 100 degree weather but it gave my hands something to do. Perhaps my inspiration came from my first batch of clay buttons… I made them with larger holes for chunky yarn. This is a little tab hat that is secured with a button, I need at least one hat to try them out on!
After touring the ann arbor art fair, I’m eager to commit to my first show or two… the process is so daunting. I saw lots of potters and one bookmaker but nobody making clay journals. I like that – authenticity. I also picked up this little book at Borders (the day before they started liquidating bummer). I have read quite a few articles online but it is so helpful to read in a cohesive order.
This past week we took a little holiday break. We are fortunate to have family who shared their cottage, so we were able to stay close but be utterly refreshed. Our trip was composed of lazy days, a day trip to the water park, great dinners with old friends and family, a ginormous christmas store and lots of family time. Quite wonderful it was!
Yesterday it was back to normal… my swimming partner presented to me with this book yesterday morning in the locker room. It was written before I was born… but absolutely sweet that she saw it and picked it up for me. The cover says a lot but it’s even more fun inside.
I love looking at old cookbooks filled with personal hand-written notes, stains, and a few extra recipe clippings mixed in as page savers. I think every recipe in this book makes no less than 5 gallons, I’ll have to do the math to size them down. Just look at this heritage!
The entire book is written very witty including several published articles from The New Yorker and a complete history of the creamy stuff. It is interesting to see how lingo changes over time and influences the meaning or tone of the text.
Very Fun… looks like I have some reading to do!
Every once in a while I dabble in bookmaking. I used to make my own journals all though college, just little ones that tucked just so in your pocket and weren’t too daunting to fill. I still have them all, they full of thoughts, memory verses, sketches, ideas, remnants of daily life. Most of them are stained in some area with coffee and I keep them together in a burlap sack. I still like making small journals, lately I have been trying to take my craft to a new level.
Before Christmas I posted about a trip to Hollanders here, I would love to take one of their many classes in bookbinding or printmaking. Last time I was there I bought new text blocks to make journals but hadn’t done anything with them. So it dawned on me to combine book-making with my passion for clay – Here are my first round of ceramic book covers I made just before Christmas. I was so excited to see how they turned out, if they warped in the kiln and their shrinkage rate.
A few months later I finally have completed my concept idea. They indeed shrunk quite a bit more that expected so I had to make my own signatures (papers inside) for them. I used leather for the back cover for durability, cutting, tooling and staining them. They are bound with a Coptic stitch binding, created with wax linen thread, sewn with a curved needle. Thanks mom for the new bookbinding book for my birthday, it has already come in handy. I love the variety in materials and the overall texture and rich feel. I am so thankful to have the ability and control to choose materials for every step of this process.
To complete these books I figured I used these FIVE artisan skills:
- ceramics (for the top cover)
- painting ( color selections/ glazing)
- paper crafting (to make the inside signatures)
- leather working (for the back cover)
- sewing (for the hand-bound edges)
I hope you all enjoy these as much as I do. I don’t know if these two will make it into the etsy shop, I think I am quite attached to them. I will definitely make more…
** now availabe in my etsy shop, click on the link for more designs and colors!
the great owl and the raven will nest there.
God will stretch out over Edom
the measuring line of chaos
We studied these passages in our BSF lesson last week, this struck me in the notes “The measuring line depicts the act of marking out the land in plots for occupation and ownership while the plumb line points to the fact that all will be assessed and compared with the true and real. God, like a master builder who uses a measuring tape and a plumb line to ensure buildings are true and square, will execute the same attention to detail both in building things up and in breaking them down for destruction.”
I have worked with wood a few times in my days, it is not my favorite material because I can never quite get it right. I love the look and the smell of freshly cut wood but lack the skills to transform it. The artist’s craft and patience has to be exact, and their tools sharp to obtain a building that is square or a product that looks good. I have chosen not wood but clay, as to me it always has seemed more forgiving and it’s responsive to the potter’s touch.
The roundness is important; before a piece can be thrown/shaped on the wheel the clay must be readied. All the air bubbles wedged out, hard particles removed, and a good consistent feel through the whole lump of clay. On the wheel the lump must be completely centered. This comes by consistent pressure on the clay, your tools which in this case are your hands must be working together. Once centered the potter must use a plumb line to drop a hole, this too must be exact to keep the lump completely centered. The art is the connection between the mind, the heart and the hands, as the potters touch transforms each lump of clay into a unique vessel. Even if he repeats a similar form, each piece holds its uniqueness and intimate touch. Every vessel is made by the conception of an artist’s hand.
The potter envisions his work of art, centers the clay and opens the hole by pulling the clay outward. This begins the process of stretching the clay. From this point on it can’t go back, the clay particles begin to loosen making the clay pliable to the potter’s touch. Water is added to lubricate, reducing friction and further softening the clay. He begins to pull the clay by again adding a steady and even pressure not outward this time but upwards. It is important for the newly formed pot to stay completely centered as this rotation keeps it workable and strong.
It is sometimes necessary to scrape clay from the bottom or trim the rim at the top to keep the pot centered. After reaching the desired height, he begins to shape it as it seems fit. Overtime the potter creates a signature for himself. A body of work that brings him delight and satisfaction, an example of his skill and consistency. If the clay is overworked or thrown off center the pot collapses, the potter will remove it from the wheel and toss it into a bucket to be reused another day.
This is the ideal way to make a vessel. An experienced potter will be able to accomplish these steps in a matter of minutes but it takes him years and practice to achieve these skills. Along the way you learn little tricks, how to reshape, trim or alter your pot if you don’t like how it looks. You learn how to redeem it if it is slightly off centered or has a uneven side. In fact you learn how to mask the imperfections that keep it from being true and real. This can result in a very clever and deceivingly round pot, but such facts cannot be hidden from its maker.
This has caused a great reflection in me… In learning how to throw pottery on the wheel, one learns the art, the motion, the process of being real and true alongside learning the way to cover, conceal and correct.
Are you aware of the makers intimate touch on your life? The uniqueness of your vessel and the purposes of why you have been made?
Have you measured your life by what is true and real?
The same plumb line that is used to make the clay into a vessel is used in the judgement of it. The creators workmanship is real and good, his body of work must remain consistent to maintain his signature. He charges us with the task of remaining centered in his hands and moving upwards. Are you being moldable and pliable, responsive to the potters touch?
Is the living water being added daily to resist friction and soften your soul?
Are there things in your life that are off center and cause spinning that is increasingly out of control?
Are you bringing delight and satisfaction to your maker? Or are there things that need to given up, thrown in the slop bucket in order to not compromise the body of work as a whole?
Isaiah 40: 28-31
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Amen Jesus. I thank your for these words and visual pictures of you hand in our creation. May these thoughts be pleasing to you O God and bring glory and advancement to your kingdom now and forevermore.
I am typically a rules girl and a goals girl. I used to write a new list every year until I was challenged during a psalms retreat through Asbury to write one big list, more of a rule of life, versus goals. I have been working at that one for a number of years. One of the items that hasn’t quite taken hold is reading. I am such a do-er (and momma to small kiddos) that it is hard for me to sit down and practice reading for pure enjoyment and mental stimulation. So this may be the one that I need to focus on this year – reading for enjoyment!
We have been getting books from the trinity forum for a couple of years now. I was delighted to see that this time it was Babette’s Feast, a short story by Isak Dinesen. I remember having to watch the foreign film in my French studying days but have never read the story. I finished in one evening. It was great to get caught up in the characters and hidden story line. I am thankful for the discussion guide they provide at the end, there were some great questions to ponder on, especially after the holiday season. I liked these application questions…
Q: What is Dinesan saying about art – or grace – by having most of the diners unable and unwilling to recognize the quality of the meal?
Generosity is the greatness of giving while concealing the cost. How amazing it was to me that Babette concealed her talent for twelve years, although it had been made known in the original letter. Her grace was shown through the humble and “comfortable” service performed to the sisters during that time. The sisters long before the meal were unable to recognize her fully as they suppressed the world to a fault. Again grace was parted as Babette planned and executed a lavish meal, knowing full well that her audience could not grasp its splendor. Babette did not need to publicize her talent, she had a confidence of her skill, which when executed in all her creativity was an expression of art. Unable or unwilling to recognize does not disqualify the act, the gift, or the cost.
Q: Have you ever been in a situation like the sisters resisting the gift of the dinner? Do we sometimes resist accepting the bounty of God when it is different from our expectations?
This is a question that I have dwelled on for a number of years. Living in a consumerist society and working in ministry there is a dichotomy between wants and needs, accepting and rejecting, thankfulness and politeness… I am at fault as most, creating wishlists and registries, strongly suggesting to others “this is what I want” blurred with “this is what I “need”. I had discussion with my husband about this before Christmas, how creating lists do set up expectation. I am currently leaning towards, the longing and wanting not being particularly awful when balanced with open-minded receiving. Our longing should never be overshadowed by others generous giving. In fact I am beginning to believe that it is harder for those in our culture to recieve gifts well as opposed to simplicity in giving. When is the last time you opened a gift that you didn’t have some sort of insecurity about or feel the need to return the favor? How humbling it is when we accept a gift that we not expecting and can never repay.
Q: What are you grateful for? Have you allowed anything to keep you from pursuing, developing, and sharing your gifts? From opening up your heart and home?
Sometimes our greatest accomplishments are masked by our own insecurities and pride. I love that Babette gave herself fully in her gift, using her talent and all her winnings which lead to her confident boast “I shall never be poor. I told you that I am a great artist. A great artist, Mesdames, is never poor. We have something, of which other people know nothing.” I am on a journey to live out the story that Christ gave me. At points I guard, with-hold, second guess, stumble, muddle, make, strive, long, create, love and share. It is the sharing that is my growing edge, the more I give the richer I become. Sharing, my faith, family, artwork, time, thoughts, and emotions that I keep, that are hidden inside of me. It is in part why I started to write this blog, which is really a safe way of sharing (like a long-distance relationship.) Yet these are the things that I am most grateful, for my relationships with Christ, my husband, kids, family and friends, with that I gladly open my heart and home.