Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mending Whimsically

Just a small update of what I've been up to lately; Mending! This is a very easy technique I sort of based off something from the book Mend It Better by Kristin M. Roach ( Find it here on Amazon ). I don't think I did it like the book shows, but it worked well. All I needed was for it reinforce some minor holes that resulted from pulls in the knit fabrics. I used six strand embroidery thread separated into either three or two strand bundles depending on the size of areas I needed to cover.

This shirt was the first one I did, botched it, did another one and then started this version. I forgot to take a finished picture. Oh well, it shows the process.
This one was just a small hole by the hood this shirt. You can't tell by the picture but the heart is a very pale

I'm not telling you what this is. You can probably guess though.

This is my Kingdom Hearts 358/2 shirt so I decided to make my mending paopu fruit which shows up in a tree on the shirt. This was my favorite one.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Here's the List

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to look at my excuses for not doing things that I should be doing. I have answered my excuses. Thanks again to Amy at Raising Arrows for the inspiration! ( Check out her blog here ) . Also, please feel free to share anything that you make excuses about not doing when you have the time and resources. I'd love to share your efforts to change this with you!

Here's the list.

Refuting the Excuses
~ This list is an exercise in proving that I have plenty of time to do the work that I am supposed to as a homemaker and wife and the ability to prepare for these things. I have 24 hours in a day, just like everyone else and God has given me many abilities I can use to make these things fun. I have no excuses! Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” NASB ~

  1)  I can’t stay up after making James’s breakfast and lunch.                                  I have done this before so I can do it again. I know that tea helps me stay awake so I should use that. Early morning is ideal for quiet time and doing my work out. I don’t need all that extra sleep, which may be contributing to my weight issues, and I can get to sleep at the right time if I don’t sleep in.

  2)  I can’t work out and still be productive during the day.
      If I do the work out earlier enough, I can rest for a bit afterward without hindering time for other tasks. Also, I need to do exercises that won’t fatigue me too much. If I don’t feel like I could work out again, I’ve done too much. Gentle yoga moves, transverse abdominal work and walking are ideal.

  3)  There isn’t enough time during the week to clean the house.
    There is no reason for this. Doing a one-shot task and an on-going task is not too much during the day. An example would be cleaning the bathroom and folding the clean laundry. Neither of those things takes too much time. Make a schedule for each day that includes a one-shot and on-going and a maintenance task. Stick to this and it will be much easier to tackle these things.
  4)  I can’t keep up with the laundry.
    The above schedule will address this. Not only will this make things easier on James when it comes to work clothes, it will help our clothes last longer. Patching and mending will also help.

  5)  I don’t have the time or the inspiration to draw every day.
   Given the above things, there should most definitely be time to draw. I need to carve out a specific time, probably after lunch as it will be easier to assimilate into nap/quiet time for children later and is good for letting digestion do its thing. As for inspiration, this is not necessary. Follow lessons on Drawspace or work on specific things for stories. There is never a time I don’t have something to draw, as long as I don’t expect perfection.

  6)  Nobody helps me out that much so why should I keep up with the house?
     I don’t need that much help. James is willing to work on the basement and Mom does the dishes when I cook dinner. I have plenty of time so this is an attitude issue. Proverbs 31: 17-18 “She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable, her lamp burns late into the night.” NLT

  7)  The mess is too overwhelming for me to handle.
     The mess is big but it is not impossible to deal with, especially taken in small chunks. A little every day will go a long way. This can be worked into the on-going tasks. Remember Philippians 4:13!

  8)  I will never be able to lose weight.
     Says who? Just because the pounds aren’t melting away doesn’t mean they won’t eventually. This takes time and diligence neither of which I’ve been putting into it. If I’m doing this and still I can’t seem to lose any weight, then there may be a problem to address with a doctor but first I need to put in the work. Again, I need to carve out time for this.

  9)  I will never know how to do things for myself rather than others or other-oriented goals.
    This one I’m not so sure about but it’s something I should take to God. I don’t know what to do about this but He knows and can direct me in the way I should go in regards to this. Talking to Jeff may help as well because I really don’t understand what James means by this. My art is pretty much all for myself, or at least I think it is. This needs further scrutiny.
   10) I can’t do anything toward my homesteading goals right now.
     There are many things I can experiment with while waiting for garden space or livestock. I can sprout things, grow small batches of herbs and microgreens, work on soaking and fermenting grains, search for second hand tools like a grain mill and work on other skills I have the tools for, like sewing. The biggest thing I should be doing is breaking down my goals into steps that I can be working on so I’m not trying to do everything at once.
  11) I can’t feed my family well on conventional food.
    While conventional food is not ideal, it is what is available to us at this time due to budget restraints. Until we are able to rework our budget to accommodate the higher prices of better quality food, I need to focus on making meals as healthful as possible with the conventionally grown items. I should also strive to have a variety of foods to limit the overexposure of chemicals specific to the particular food. Growing as much as I can with the space I’ve got and limiting the foods that are the most sprayed/injected/etc. will be a good start. This is a step by step process.

  12) I don’t have time for experimenting and must get things right the first time.
    I am not God, therefore I am not expected to get everything right the first time. There is no rush because things will not fall apart if I don’t learn to bake sourdough or set up a permaculture garden immediately before having babies or what have you. God is in control of what I can and cannot do, of the timeline for my learning and of all that I should do for myself and my family. I need to let Him direct my projects and let go of the need to be perfect because I’m not and He is.
  13) I will mess up badly if I try to can food.
     See above. This is something I need to try before writing it off as impossible. Aunt Mel did it wrong for years and never killed anybody, so why am I so afraid to do it right? The safety precautions are easy to understand and I know how to identify food gone icky. Furthermore, it is a skill that is extremely valuable in light of the depleted conventional farms that are currently failing, one that I wish to teach my children so that whatever the future may hold for the state of food, they will have skills to feed their families and save that food for the winter.

  14) I will be stuck on birth control pills for as long as we’re not actively trying to have a child.
    I need to continue my research on this. As far as I can tell from my research, conventional doctors believe them to be safe but a large body of studies indicate that long-term use can cause increased risks that outweigh the benefits of use. While they do reduce the chances of ovarian and endometrial cancers (which makes sense because these parts are not being used in the same way due to the hormones), it increases the risk of breast, uterine, and LIVER cancer (which I cannot live without). One of my biggest issues though, is that while the pill can guarantee 98.9ish% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, it prevents ovulation on about 68-75% of the time. This means that because of the dramatic thinning of the endometrium (it needs to be about 12mm thick for implantation and the pill keeps it at less than 6mm), eggs that were released in that 25-32% of the time may have been fertilized but were simply unable to implant. This is pretty much what the terrible morning-after abortion pill does. This is also the definition of a chemical pregnancy, which is considered a miscarriage. So following that logic, taking the pill is forced miscarriage. It also is looking more and more like we don’t trust God to know when we should have children and when we shouldn’t. I don’t want to Crouse or Gentner, but the pill is seeming less wise. My research is also indicating that the pill is not helpful for PCOS, if I indeed have it because it creates a false environment of hormonal rightness. It may even be doing more harm than good by flooding my system with androgenic hormones that increase my testosterone levels, which in turn increase my estrogen levels, which lead to weight gain. The excess fat then gives off more estrogen and the cycle continues. These things seem to outweigh protecting my other ovary. Shouldn’t I be trusting God to protect my fertility, indeed my very life, rather than a man-made chemical set?
  15) The Lysakowski-Sparkia homestead is nothing but a dream. 
    While it is a dream right now, it doesn’t have to stay that way. We are all for it right now, we are creative and determined people. With proper preparation, this is not something impossible to achieve. God willing, of course.
  16) I will be a bad mom because I don’t have enough discipline and will thus become hypocritical when teaching our future children.
    Every parent will go through this. The best thing I can do is pray that God gives me the desire to learn discipline so that I’m not asking things of our children that I am not doing myself. It’s not a sign of a bad mom, just one that is sinful, imperfect and still needing to learn about her role.
  17) I can’t break my sugar habit.
    Philippians 4:13 strikes again! This is completely doable, especially if I’m doing the cooking. I don’t have to add refined sugar to my food. It would be nice if I didn’t have to go it alone but if that’s the case, I will do it.
  18) I will never have Imogene, Geraldine, or Mable (Mini Jersey Cow, goat and ewe) because I’m not disciplined and brave enough to handle them.
    I need to start small with this one. I should start by raising laying hens before anything else. If that goes well, with proper research and seeking out opportunities to interact with these bigger animals, this is completely doable. These animals require daily care but this is not something out of the scope of my abilities.
  19) I will never finish any of my comics let alone publish them.
    Says who? Only I can say that and based on what I’ve been doing, I’m saying I can’t do it. But I know I can and the only way to do so is to work at it every day. Preparation and planning is the key. Keeping to the plan is essential. This is doable, especially because I plan to self-publish. I cannot keep living in fear that I will fail. I only fail if I don’t do it.
  20) I will never be enough for James.
    Where in the world did I get this idea? God made me for James, He knows what He is doing. I am enough because God made me enough. I have things to learn but so does James. We are both imperfect and will mess up, but we are where we are supposed to be with each other. Keep making positive changes but don’t freak out!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Failure and Success

I blog about a lot of weird things but I was prompted to really think about what I'm doing with the time I have right now. I often act like I'm swamped with things to do. In reality, it's more that I have a lot of things I want to do, so many that it leaves me paralyzed, thus unable to do any of the things I wanted. And my mind starts screaming "FAILURE!"

Then I read a recent post by Amy of Raising Arrows. Here's a bit of it :

"We’ve all heard the phrase “Busy as a Bee” and more often than not we probably feel like that phrase fits our lives perfectly.  But today, I want to ask you,
"What are you busy doing?
I hear a lot of women lament their lack of time.  They don’t have time to get the homeschooling in, the meals prepared, the house cleaned.  They have all sorts of reasons why and most of it boils down to not enough hours in the day.
I’ve said it myself…
“I just don’t have enough time to do all the things that need to be done in a day.”
But, I’m wrong.
I do have enough time.  God gave me 24 hours a day just like everyone else.  But, I’m not prepared" (read the rest  here)
And then I started mentally screaming " OWOWOWOWOWOWOW!" because that stung. Here's a homemaker with six kids speaking about how she can get things done if she prepares properly.
Here I sit, a married woman with no children yet whose mother does the evening dishes (mostly, I still end up unloading, reloading and running the dishwasher most of the time. As I type this, she's asking me to unload it for her so she only has to do the ones that don't go in the dishwasher. Most of the time she just ignores the dishwasher and does it all by hand...at least she thanked me for it! ).
 I have a ton of time on my hands and I accomplish next to nothing in a day. Some of it is the hours I keep. I don't like to fall asleep when I should (around 9 pm) and I don't stay up after I finish my husbands breakfast and lunch (at about 5 am). I usually don't get up again until 9:30 and by then most of the day has been wasted. And on the off chance that I did stay up, I don't start doing things until my mother leaves at 7 am, mostly because I'm a grouch in the morning and my mother tends to set me off. No body wants that. So clearly some of my preparedness needs to be about being awake to do things...I'm trying again in the morning.
So I'm going to do what Amy did as an example and write out what I think I don't have time for during the day and see how preparation can remedy this. I have the perfect opportunity to gain a organized and prepared life before we have little ones so I'd better get crackin'!
One a better note, this past Sunday, my aunt, my cousin and I stripped their herb garden so that the colder temperatures that we've had the past few days wouldn't kill them all. My aunt handed me some bags and told me to take all I wanted. Boy did I ever!

This is part of a huge Lemon Verbena bush. I'm going to have sooo much tea!

Lots of herbs from Back to Front: Sage, Rosemary, French Thyme, Oregano and Chives.
Please ignore our exploding basement.

Ultimately the success for me is not that I have the herbs but that they aren't still riding around in the back of the car. I will say it did improve the smell of the car though. We call it The Goat for a reason. This is why used cars can be an adventure. But yeah, I'm very excited to have them up and drying. Hopefully we will be able to afford the quart sized mason jars I would like to store them in when they are done. The lemon verbena is currently drying on top of the fridge after my cousin and I plucked the leaves from the stems.

Pardon the weird highlighting...I couldn't get it to stop.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I seem to lose them fast...

I guess I should have known that things would turn out the way they did.

I can't say I have a shortage of friends, but it really distresses me when it feels like I'm losing a friend, especially when I don't understand why they are leaving in the first place. I can't say he's a really close friend to me, but he's really good friends with my husband and I enjoy his presence in our life very much.

Maybe this wouldn't suck so much if I hadn't been realizing how many friends I've lost touch with. Maybe it wouldn't suck so much if, because I have no siblings of my own, my friends become like brothers and sisters to me. Maybe it wouldn't suck so much if because of the previous thing, I wasn't convinced that the future LunaMusings children would miss out on knowing such fun, quirky and faithful unofficial uncle.

I understand that this very well could be God's will for his life. I will not interfere with that. That doesn't mean it's going to hurt any less to see him go. It doesn't really fill in the big gaping hole in my self-gathered family. It just makes it more understandable. At least a bit.

Maybe I was presuming too much about his friendship with myself and my husband. I do that sometimes. I think I'm better friends with someone than I am. I know I 'm not the most fun person in the world but my husband is a blast and a half to be around. That's not enough to keep him here. But oh how I wish it was.

But that's not what matters.

What matters is that he do what supposed to in regards to what God wants him to do with his life. That's the bottom line. I just wish how I felt, how my husband feels about this mattered. Just a little bit.

I know Michigan can't offer mountains, can't offer new places, wilder places. But it still has much to offer. And it needs much as well. I know he wants more for his ministry than he has here, but doesn't God often use one person to spark change somewhere?

I'm probably over emotional about this because parts of it feel personal. It comes off to me as him saying to all of us who call him friend over here in the Mit that we "will never be enough for me so I'm done with you" rather than challenge us to something greater.

 I'm probably looking at this the wrong way. I want to encourage him, not freak out on him. But I don't think that when the day comes that he moves so far away, that I will be able to hold it together. I will probably cry, probably get angry because there goes one more person who I held dear.

So friend, I'll be praying for you, that God will show you His will quickly. And if He does want you to move away, that I will be able to be happy for you. Just remember those who are still here and know you will always people who love you here. I apologize in advance because I'm sure I will say hurtful things and I may even mean them. Just know that however selfish and ridiculous I may be, I still think of you as my brother, not just in Christ, and love you because of both of those things. I also pray that whatever your journey with God leads you to, you will be content with your circumstances.

Just please don't forget us.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adventures with the Whole Chicken and Pumpkins

Oh hey there Interwebs!

I have had some very happy things in the world of culinary skills happen to me lately and a funny thing as well. I don't have pictures for everything, but here's a small smattering.

Hi, I'm Imogene, the whole chicken. This is just after my tail was removed. I look a little lumpy because LunaMusings just buttered me.

This is me in the crockpot, all rubbed in seasonsings and more butter.

LunaMusings's  hands after rubbing me. There was a lot of paprika so she's a bit stained.

I was so proud of how Imogene turned out. There were some issues, being that Imogene was unfortunately a conventionally raised chicken but other wise she made a lovely dinner and bone broth for the next day.

Speaking of the next day, I was making a chicken, potato and black bean soup with spinach. I soaked the beans all night with a little vinegar in hope that not only would it soak them properly but get rid of the unsightly purple broth thing. I put the beans in with the chicken breasts and some of the broth. This is what happened.

Yes...they are purple.
Very purple.

I ended up having to discard some of the broth because it was Just. So. Purple. Luckily Imogene produced enough yummy bone broth that it all turned out okay. But for the record, double soak and rinse your black beans before adding them to a crock pot soup. Purple is not an attractive look for chicken unless its a raspberry vinaigrette.

Anyone else have some crazy things that have happened to your cooking adventures? I'd love see them!

As for the Pumpkins part of the title, that is the next challenge theme brought to you by the lovely Karmada of Crash Bang Laboratory! Come join in the fun! http://blog.crashbanglabs.com/2012/09/theme-for-week-of-932012.html This is the initial post about her idea. Keep going through her posts to find the edits to the process.