Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Planning for a Craft Fair

So obviously I still have a lot to catch up and update my blog on (like moving to our 9 acre home and the experience with our first of year of constructing and planting a large family garden). But I'm not quite ready to go back yet, to dig out old pictures, etc. I thought I'd rather share with you what is going on right now.

I am busy, amongst other things, preparing for my first ever craft fair. It is a small, local fair being held at my church in early November but that will give me an easy entry into the experience of participating in and selling at a fair setting. I will be offering some of my original art for sale from St. Catherine's Apprentice, as well as prints and maybe cards of particular pieces. (I've also started selling on Etsy, but again, that is for another post!) It's also an opportunity to advertise for my commissioned portraits and just begin to get the word out that that is something I do, though I'd like to focus more on creating and selling original pieces.

In addition, I have been contemplating a sister business--Brother Sun, Sister Moon Rustic Handicrafts. It would be a bit of a family hobby business endeavor the kids can help with. I've been dabbling with rustic wood projects. It's a resource I have free on our 9 acre home. I love working with the natural material.

A view of part of our wooded acreage last winter.

Woodworking is something that runs in my blood and just feels good doing it! It used to be my grandfather's hobby. He was very talented. He once built me a beautiful, little, rocking baby bassinet for my baby dolls when I was little. I still have that hiding away somewhere in fact! He had a shed in his backyard where he'd create all his wooden crafts and furniture. My father, too, is quite the skilled wood craftsman. He handcrafted a large set of beautiful, custom, built in shelving in my parents' living room with matching entertainment system cabinetry. While I'm not THAT gifted, lol, shaping and crafting wood in it's natural, rustic form is something I find as a soothing, enjoyable pastime. To begin with I'll be offering miniature, rustic Earth Looms. I absolutely LOVE these! I've wanted to make one for years, but we haven't settled down into our forever home till recently. I'll be creating a large scale version in my garden for my own family in the near future. For now, I'll be creating a smaller, portable version for craft fairs.

I'll also be constructing my own miniature tripod display easels to showcase my artwork at the fair. I'll share that tutorial with you tomorrow. But I'll leave you with this little goody I came across while researching tripod instructions. It's a miniature Easel Picture Stand! It's a quick and simple project to create and so adorable. I'll be creating a few of these to display pictures of my children! The Tutorial Instructions can be found here.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pope Bound in DC!!!

Last Sunday, my oldest and I were blessed to have received 2 tickets to the Canonization Mass of St. Junipero Serra in DC with Pope Francis! Needless to say we were both ecstatic. It was made even more special getting to spend it with my daughter. Here's a few photos from Wednesday, September 23rd's DC adventure:

On the metro.
Our View from the Choir and Orchestra Section. 

2.5 hrs waiting in line to get in. But we made it!

We were able to get an up close view of the Pope entering the Basilica.

 Pope Francis.

The best part, aside from our chance of a lifetime viewing of the Pope, was doing it together as mother and daughter! My daughter snapped this shot as we were waiting for the Pope's arrival.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Reconstruction under way!!

I'm breathing life back into this old blog! Consider it officially under reconstruction. I have much altering, deleting, and adding to do to get this baby up and running again. Not to mention updating! There are so many updates to share. For instance, we actually moved to a house on 9.4 acres that we are transforming into my dream of a little homestead!! There is so much to talk about. So just bear with me as I get this old blog cleaned up and revamped ;)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Project 31: Day 9

Journal~Day 9:
A) Began the tedious task of sewing the heart and star ornaments.

B) I've been receiving "Read the Catechism in A Year" emails (shhh... more often than not, I don't read them and just delete them unopened). This one caught my attention though and has been the center of much meditation for me:   (holistic, contemplation)
338 Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God's word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun.

339 Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the "six days" it is said: "and God saw that it was good." "By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws." Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.

340 God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.

341 The beauty of the universe: the order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. the beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will.

344 There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory: May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendour, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High. . .

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste.
May you be praised, my Lord, for
sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses. . .
Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility.
I like that....


Friday, November 30, 2012

Project 31: Journal Day 8

Journal~Day 8:

A) Esther responded back by email with raw milk link:  (buy local, whole foods)
Note: At our last Waldorf Meetup group, the other moms and I
were discussing unpasteurized milk and where to get it.
After our hike in the woods, we've been going back to Esther's farm house
and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate made with the raw milk she gets. Delicious!
B) Facebooked Mary about where she used to get her fresh milk, wanting a farm that came recommended and trusted.
  • They got theirs from Hedgebrook Farm- ; group share instead of private share, so would need to rotate pickup amongst 6 families :(  would prefer to responsible for my own milk. Celeste's milk pickup is the same way and I wasn't really interested in that model.
  • 1 gallon of milk a week
  • One time fee of $60 for share; one time fee of $20 for jars & lids; monthly boarding fee of $28. Money collected quarterly
  • Works out to be about $5.25/gallon (after the one time fees of course)
C) Made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch with the homemade bread I made on Day 6. There's a sense of pride in using/eating something you made yourself. I tell you, I was walking a little taller and feeling all puffed up, lol :) (healthy, homemade)
Note: Our day 6 bread making.
The 2 loaves on the left were made by scratch by my 9 year old daughter, Anna,
without ANY assistance. They're a honey wheat. Pretty awesome, huh?!
She's got more skills than I did at her age, that's for sure.
 The one on the one right was mine~ a simple wheat bread recipe
from Laural's Kitchen cookbook. Attempt one in making this bread.
***I felt so proud using MY homemade that I made myself. I was all puffed up**

    D) Began making heart and star Christmas ornaments from old fabric. (sewing, handmade, resourceful)
    Note: Fabric from my baby quilt and Kittens in a Basket.
     It's the fabric that keeps on giving :)
    E) Continued worked on Christy's wool felt baby booties, began embroidery designs.
    F) Husband brought home the beeswax and honey! (local, small business, organic)
    Note: One of the ladies at my husband's work has a little side business beekeeping:
    Lunsford Bee Farm. At our Waldrolf Group on Monday we will be making
     hand dipped beeswax candles!!


Project 31: Day 7

So I explained yesterday what Project 31 was. My year of reinventing my life towards a healthy, more conscious, self-sustaining, and holistic lifestyle. Working towards that end little by little, day by day, piece by piece. I not only want to learn the "how" of these things but also to know the "why". So it's a year of hands and head--and as with everything I strive for heart~contemplation, being present to God and to the moment. Out of all my endevours for this coming 31st year of life that will be the hardest, yet the one I most aspire and hope to attain.

Here's the page from my journal~ Day 7:

A) Continued work on Christy's wool felt Christmas booties. (objective: sewing skills, made by hand, resourceful)
Side Note: Started these on Day 5.
The wool was felt left over from an unfinished puppet my daughter was
making for one of our Waldorf Group activity days.
I am using Simplicty Pattern 2867 from my old stash of patterns.

B) Researched freezing vegetables such as potatoes so I can start reducing the amount of frozen veggies I buy in the frozen food section of the grocery store. (Unprocessed, healthy, whole foods)
  •  Site I visited: here
C) Learned about blanching vegetables, from the same site above, and the importance to the preserving process. (Learning to can/preserve foods)
  • Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. It also wilts or softens vegetables and makes them easier to pack.  Blanching time is crucial and varies with the vegetable and size. Underblanching stimulates the activity of enzymes and is worse than no blanching. Overblanching causes loss of flavor, color, vitamins and minerals. Use one gallon water per pound of prepared vegetables. Put the vegetable in a blanching basket and lower into vigorously boiling water. Place a lid on the blancher. The water should return to boiling within 1 minute, or you are using too much vegetable for the amount of boiling water. Start counting blanching time as soon as the water returns to a boil. Keep heat high for the time given in the directions for the vegetable you are freezing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
~ T. S. Eliot

On November 23rd I celebrated my 31st birthday! And my blog turned 1. One year of blogging! Woohoo!  I know this because I began this blog as my 30th birthday present to myself. It was an experiment of sorts. I can't say it's been successful~but it wasn't success I was looking for. It was about taking a step out and doing something for myself. Putting myself out on a limb. Which is wonderful because it led to me beginning my little art business. Which, again, wasn't about success either. It was about gaining confidence in myself. Taking another step a bit further out on that limb. It gave me enough confidence to begin to socialize a bit (I've been a "desperate housewife" of sorts for years, living out a self-imposed ostracized life.) leading me to my group of prayer friends. These are people I could be totally me with. People who knew my past, who knew my struggles~no holding back, no posturing~ and still accepted me. Within  in this group, I met a good friend who lent me a helping hand in taking another step towards doula work~assisting with her in my first birth in the role of student doula. It was with this group of friends, Team McArthur was born, quenching my thirst for charity, my fourth vow~serving others around me with love. And from there sprung the branch of my art business called Art Charity. Being able to socialize once again, led me to local Meetup Groups such as Ten Moons' Birth Circle group, Warrenton Waldorf-Inspired Homeschooling group, and an Aware Parenting group~yes, more putting myself further out on the limb and meeting new people. And from here, let me tell you, the view is spectacular.

What an absolutely beautiful year it has been for me.

It has been my best year yet. Out so far on this branch of mine~from here I will either fall or fly. I think it will be the latter :) And besides with God at my side whom shall I fear, right??! I have high hopes for what year 31 holds in store for me. I coined what is now known as "Project 31". It is my list of goals I have set for myself this year. It mostly consists of 4 major categories:

A) Self-sustaining lifestyle/skills
B) Holistic: Head, Heart, Hands
C) Attitude of Gratitude
D) Contemplative (everything with God) ~but of course!

My subcategories are:
#1) Food: whole foods, healthy, unprocessed, lose excess weight (once and for all. Big prize if I do~my brother will go on a hike with me on my beloved Appalachian Trail come spring if I can lose 30 lbs in 6 mos. Already lost 5!! Only 25 more to go.)
         -buy local
         -buy organic
         -learn to grow
         -learn to can

#2) Conscious living: know where my food comes from, know where my clothing comes from, know where my products come from:
         -buy local
         -buy handmade
         -Make by hand

#3) Sewing skills, knitting skills, crochet skills, etc...

All this will be a progression~little by little over the course of the year; no do or die attitude, only a nice gentle flow towards change. I keep a little journal of skills I'm learning and/or have researched and objectives I accomplished that day.

Baking bread in the kitchen yesterday (see already working towards my goals ~objectives: unprocessed foods, made from scratch ;) with my daughter, Anna (9), who has a birthday herself in a couple of weeks as spurred her to do her own 'Project 10' and joining me in this journey!

And you may have noticed my new blog design. I figured with my blog turning 1, it needed a new look :) The picture is from the Appalachian Trail, a reminder and encourager of things to come... I've been doing more hikes with our little Waldorf homeschool group as well and am finding so much solace in the woods and nature, I thought I'd bring a piece of that to my blog. So raise up your glasses and lets say a cheers to a new year of life and a new year of blogging!!