The Nursery Home Office

I’m not completely at peace in my new home office, sitting on the edge of the futon, reaching to peck the keys. But at least here, I have a little space to myself. The pastel art walls might become soothing, and the seascape up on the wall may comfort me as well. The restless child, however, might have trouble adjusting to the blue glow in the corner, and some of this stuff just has to go into storage:

• The heirloom cradle, unused and outgrown.
• The giant wagon, so nice for a picnic at the park, so large and in the way for those cozy winter nights!
• The winter clothes, or summer clothes, or whatever clothes do not fit right now.
But not this bookshelf, which doubles as my desk, and not the curtains, which (in my humble opinion) make a house look more like a home and less like a rental.
I will probably take the trash out more often, and get to the girly pile of clothes when they smell. It will work.
I can tutor and type and create custom curriculum. I can virtually assist people and work on the webpage I am designing for a friend.
But this futon sitting thing—I’m not sure about that. My back is aching just from this little blog post. Oh well. For every problem, there is a solution.


Amazing Grace Infinity Scarves

I’m staying at home this year instead of teaching, so I’m trying to find ways to pay the bills without having to leave the kids with a sitter. One suggestion made to me was to sell some crochet work at the holiday bazaars. I like that idea, but in order to do a good job, I need to build up my supply of items for sale. I’m starting with scarves.

A couple nights ago, I started working on a free infinity scarf pattern that I found on Ravelry. I was having a difficult time getting motivated, so I asked my frienda on Facebook to help me get motivated.

Of course, my friends did a great job of complimenting and allowing interest in the scarf. In return, I pushed frequent pictures of my progress. By the time I was done, I already had a Facebook friend ready to purchase the scarf. Here you can see the finished version.IMG_1207.JPGIMG_1205.JPG


I’m happy with how it turned out and happy to have a buyer. But now I still need to build up my stock of crocheted items for sale. My next scarf will be similar, but in blues.


Friday Night Tangles

Zentangle has been my go-to relaxation device. With a square of paper, a pencil, and a little ink in my micron, I can create a small piece of beauty amidst my chaotic and sometimes ugly life.

Ugly is a strong word, but it represents the pain in my jaw and ear that stems from my TMD. The muscles holding my jaw together seem to tense up with stress and apparently I grind my teeth in my sleep. So my dentist made me a mouth splint and gave me some advice: eat soft foods, don’t chew gum, and relax.

Creating Zentangles is one way I relax. As I systematic fill in patterns, I can focus on clearing my mind from the stress of the day (like potty-training, budgeting, laundry piled high, scraped knees, and breast-feeding) and I can do something simple, like breathe. Tonight I found myself humming and then quietly singing an old hymn. Here’s an excerpt from “The Solid Rock”:

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

—Edward Mote (1797-1874)

So here are some of my tangles from tonight that I did while trying to relax. My two year old started this one:


This was based on one I did back in May of last year:

Here is the inspiration piece:

This simple one is a new pattern I’ve been working on that looks like plaid. They wear a lot of plaid in my hometown!


Finally, a work in progress. I might have posted this one before. I’m not done yet. I really like this one.

Well, now I am very relaxed, pain-free (mostly) and ready for bed. Goodnight.


WIP: A Shared Zantangle

Two-year-olds are pretty good at mimicking their folks, and mine seems to be in a copy-cat learning phase where he does this a lot. So it shouldn’t surprise me that he wanted to “dwah” when he saw me start to work on my Zentangle art.

I was feeling especially generous one day when I gave him an official apprentice tile to draw on. He came up with this.

The next time, I decided we’d share. First he drew the “strings”.
I pencilled in a few extra, straighter lines, which I pretty much ignored later. His drawing is much more organic and natural than mine.

Next I picked out some of my favorite shapes and traced them with my 03 micron black pen. I grew the shapes into bolder strings. I added a place for a border.


I think I’m done now with the design. I’ve just got to work in the shading.


If you are wanting to start with Zentangle, consider purchasing something like this <a href="http://Sakura 50011 11-Piece Zentangle Clamshell Pencil Set“kit.

My new book purchased for inspiration is called Zen Doodle: Tons of Tangles
It is pretty great.


And here is the completed version:


Portland Adventures

We started out in Portland on Hawthorne, one of my favorite haunts. We visited the Waffle Window, where my sister used to work. It’s not the same without her, but it’s still pretty awesome to walk up to a window on the outside of a wall and order a gourmet sweet Banana Rama and Spicy Bacon Belgian waffle.IMG_0797.JPG
Afterwards we strolled down to Jackpot Records and bought a She and Him album for my brother and his wife. Then we went to visit them in their new home and to spend the night.

My brother now lives near Alberta, so there is a while new section of Portland to discover. Earlier this week I heard about a popular ice cream place called Salt and Straw in the neighborhood from an old friend who was visiting Portland at the time. The ice cream shop was then recommended by two more people in the next few days. I was told it was one of those places where the lone goes around the corner. Luckily it wasn’t that busy when we went. It did not disappoint. We loved the Almond Brittle Salted Ganache Ice Cream, the Lavender, and the Double Vanilla. I really wanted to try the coffee and bourbon ice cream, but I can’t have coffee too late in the day, and I wasn’t prepared to ask if the bourbon was alcoholic because that just seems like an odd question. Like the answer should be obvious, either way.



There are a lot of little shops that I’d love to discover more, but when you are toting around two kids in a double stroller, you choose your shops wisely. We started out near the Community Cycling Center, which graciously offers public restrooms, and worked our way from 16th and Alberta to 20th and Alberta toward the ice cream. We stopped at some great places along the way: a house called the Make house, where bedrooms have been converted to art studios and the living room into a small retail space, a fancy toy store called Greenbeans, where I got each kid a toy, and a sticker store where a guy chatted with us about living in Pendleton, He kept saying it sounded so peaceful.

Finally we landed at a great art supply store called Collage. I already want to go back. I picked up micron pens, some gray pens to shade my Zentangles, a pack of ATC blanks, and some titles I’ll tell you more about later. Also a cute present for my mom called birds on a wire.

I always love hanging out in Portland. I was glad to have the chance to do it again.