Friday, December 7, 2012

O Christmas Tree

Today was the day I had set aside for beginning Christmas at our house.  The girls had told me (in no uncertain terms, I might add) that they did not want to put up the artificial tree.  So I set off this morning to find the real thing.

It didn't take me nearly as long as I thought it would to pick out THE one.  I was even able to install the roof rack without assistance as I waited for a young man to trim the bottom and bring it to the car.  As nice as he was, his tree-tying skills need work.  After he was safely away, I re-tied the ends with real knots and prayed the middle was secure.

The tree is now safely home and having a drink on the front porch.  While it was resting, I thought I'd tidy it up a bit. Caught in its green tresses was foliage that had been shed by some of its former neighbors.  I found pine needles and leaves from at least 2 types of oak.  Up next to the trunk, I spied what I thought was a wad of grass.  As I pulled it out, I realized it was an empty nest.  I don't know if it has ever secured a family of little birds.  It appears still loosely woven rather than pressed together from habitation.  I was tempted to leave it in place, perhaps filling it with a small glass occupant.  Then I concluded that the temptation to the feline members of the household might be too much resist. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PPP - Portable Phone Pocket

Remember Carol Burnett?  If you're a generation younger than me, you would know her as Miss Hannigan from the movie version of "Annie." If you are my age or older, you would just know her.  She had one of those stage variety shows that were so popular in the '70's. One of the things I remember most about her is that she had the man who designed her dresses to put pockets in all of them.  Not the clothes she wore everyday, but the gowns she wore on stage.

I understand completely.  Not all women's clothing has pockets, or even a single pocket.  I hate that. I don't particularly like purses and I certainly don't want to carry one every waking moment. But since I have a family and they expect me to be reachable at all times, I needed a phone pocket.  It seemed like a great idea for a new knitting project.

I knew that it would be something that got a lot of use, so I didn't really want a fuzzy yarn.  Mr. H had a spool of twisted nylon twine in his shop.  It seemed like the perfect thing to use. I measured my phone and got my knitting needles out.

It turned out just like I had envisioned! It's not often that one can say that about a project.

It's been about a year since I made the phone pocket.  The nylon twine has held up beautifully: no holes, no worn places. Perfect service. I realized that the cord was a bit too long, so I just knotted it to take up some slack.

Recently, I decided I needed something to hold my iPod Touch.  When I exercise, I like to listen to something. We have a rowing machine in our bathroom, but there is no view to distract my mind.  There is a radio in there, but the machine generates so much noise that I can't hear it.  The seating position of the rowing machine makes using regular pants pockets an if-fy proposition.  The iPod kept inching out and falling onto the floor, causing the earbuds to pull out of my ears. I needed another PPP - a Portable iPod Pocket.

I got it cast on Friday night. Then Saturday, while we were on the way to the family reunion, I got it almost finished.  Only one end of the strap was left to attach. I had planned it out on a 3" x 3.5" piece of graph paper in the back seat of the car.  That plan included grafting one end of the strap to some open stitches with Kitchner stitch, which meant I needed my cheat sheet and some undistracted time :)

I got it finished Sunday night and tested it Monday morning.  I like it!

Click HERE if you'd like a PDF of the pattern.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Treasure from my Grandmother

In the process of remodeling our bedroom, I have discovered treasure.  I was cleaning out the cabinets that were formerly part of the office, but are now the other end of our bedroom.  Over the years since we built the house, those cabinets have become overstuffed with little bits and pieces of every crafting project we've attempted.  It was really like a walk down memory lane:  fabrics I used to make little toddler dresses for the girls, church and school assembly program costumes for the entire family, and little crafting supplies accumulated over the years.  

Buried in the back of the least accessible cabinet was a big shopping bag.  I remembered it as a bag of silky fabric, cut into pieces that my grandmother intended for a quilt.  I pulled the bag out and opened it.  The fragrance of my grandmother's house escaped into the room, overpowering the new carpet scent.  It seemed like a magic moment.  Then I discovered the buried treasure.  I didn't realize that she had been well on her way to achieving the actual quilt.

As I was looking to see if there were enough pieces for me to try to finish her work, I noticed that some were attached to each other.  As I tried to pull a square out of the bag, it reminded me of the old magician's trick of the long, long scarf coming from his sleeve.  It was a quilt topper, mostly hand basted, but a few pieces were just pinned together.  It was exactly what I was picturing in my head as a bed covering for the new room.  There are Van Gogh prints hanging on our new gray walls, mostly in hues of blue and green and violet. This would be perfect.  I couldn't resist spreading it over the old comforter to see what it would look like.

This photograph doesn't really do it justice.  The colors are more mellow, not nearly as harsh as they look here.  It hangs almost to the floor on both sides of our queen size bed.

When I dug deeper in the bag, I found another one!

It isn't quite as big as the first.  It hangs down one square's length on both sides.  The pieces on this one are machine sewn.  It looks as if there are enough triangles in the bag to make at least one more row.  I hope so.

Now the question is whether I've got what it takes to finish the job or if I need to get someone else, more experienced, to make these treasures functional.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Science Gone Wrong

After VBS this past summer, I bought a big plastic tote to keep all the supplies together:  batteries, magnets, test tubes, vortex generators, you science stuff.  This morning I went into the room where the tote is stored.  I noticed that there appeared to be condensation on the inside of the tote.  My first thought was that it was hurricane related.  We did have a leak in the building, but it didn't effect that room.  There is enough paper stored in that room to assure me that there had to be another explanation.

I took the lid off the tote and knew there was trouble.  Two white lab coats were packed at the top.  Well, I should say, formerly white lab coats.  They were speckled with black mildew.  Ewww!  The folder of notes was warped and soggy.  The box containing the magnets and eddy current tube was saturated.  I don't even know what condition the 6 volt batteries are in.  They are in the very bottom, so I suspect they are toast.

When I picked up the gallon jug of bubble solution, it dripped on the floor.  I don't know if it was smashed by the lid of the tote.  I don't think the pressure from Hurricane Isaac was low enough to burst the jug.  If anything, it would have just popped the top off.

So now my task for Monday Tuesday afternoon is laid out.  I need to see what is salvageable and what is a lost cause. I suppose if the lab coats don't come clean, I can always tie-dye them.  Now there's an idea...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Then and Now

There's a storm brewing out there.  Isaac isn't in the Gulf yet, but he's headed this way.  And he's going to come ashore very close to the 7th anniversary of Katrina's arrival.

I remember being in church on August 28, 2005.  As it was the last Sunday of our literature's quarterly cycle, the new quarter's books were in our classroom, ready to be handed out.  We joked about the picture on the front:  it showed a photograph of a house after a disaster.  My memory tells me the house was laying on it's side, either fallen or blown over.  We laughed and hoped that our houses didn't look like that the next day.

So many houses DID look like that on Monday as the storm moved inland.  Or the houses were completely gone!  And then in the following days as river water flooded into New Orleans, more houses became uninhabitable with rising water and mud.

Seven years have passed and I'm not in that Sunday School class any more.  I'm working in the children's Sunday School department.  This month we are studying contentment.  We've looked at several people who weren't content:  Adam and Eve in the garden, the Israelites as they were fed by God in the wilderness, King Ahab as he looked over at Naboth's vineyard.

I know that as the children come into church this Sunday morning, some will be worried about the weather.  They will have heard their parents or school teachers remembering other big storms.  Most won't remember Katrina, but the stories will be told in their hearing.

I believe it is no coincidence that our bible story this week will be coming from an unlikely place for a "story."  It's a part of the Sermon on the Mount.  There are no action figures, no miracles, no kings or serpents or water from a rock.  It's simply Jesus telling us not to worry:  not about our clothes or our food or how long we will live.  The Bottom Line, as our lesson puts it, is "When you trust God, you don't have to worry about tomorrow." You don't have to worry about Isaac.  Yes, you should prepare.  (or as we would say it to the kids:  you need to make the wise choice to get ready)

But Trusting is so much better than worrying.  I'm glad this will be the picture we take with us this week.

P.S. I'd like to say thanks to the nice people at Orange for giving me permission to use their image here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wildlife Rescue

I like to set my 6 ferns under the edge of the roof to catch rain water when I can.  Since Em was mowing the yard, I watered them well and was in the process of hanging them back up on the porch.  It really is a process for me because it involves a reptile check.

I pick the fern up by the hook in a quick motion then check the grass underneath to make sure no serpents are lurking.  It has happened to me before and I am always expecting it to happen again.  While I'm looking in the grass, I shake the basket gently to dislodge anything that might be hanging on to the bottom of the basket.  (It could happen!!)  Then I hang the basket on the chain attached to the porch.

Today there were no serpents, but there were other critters.  When I picked up the 2nd fern, something moved.  It took me a few seconds to locate him, but this toad was hiding underneath.

And when I lifted the 5th basket, a little tortoise was hiding under it.  El has an turtle habitat in her room, so we're used to this kind of critter.  This one is much smaller than her pets.  I got her to put her hand in the picture for size reference.

So that they wouldn't be accidentally run over by the mower, I asked El to move them to the shade under the tree across the road.  She got a box and lifted the tortoise inside.  When it came to the toad, she was less eager to touch it.  I got him corralled into the box with his new friend and she carried them to the tree.

 The toad was trying to get out the entire time she carried the box.  When she set the box down, I was ready to take a picture as she took the cover off.  I wasn't quick enough!  That toad was ready to get out.  In the process, he upset the tortoise who had to be assisted from the box.

If you look at the picture below, you can see the toad as a slightly darker spot in the center.  He didn't want to hang around any longer than he had to.

 The tortoise may still be sitting in the same spot in the shade.  He was not in any hurry to get away.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Whose Church Is It?

I read an article in the online version of the Clarion Ledger yesterday.  It made me sick.   It made me sick on several levels.

First, that some people in a church would deny a wedding ceremony on the basis of race.  That reasoning is against everything that Christ teaches us.

Second, that the world would think that all Baptists, or all Mississippians, or all white people would agree with those few who are so misguided.

My heart goes out to the Wilsons, whose special day was stained by a few small-minded individuals.  My heart also goes out to the pastor, Dr. Stan Weatherford.  They were all placed in a terrible position with so little time to make alternate plans.  Having just gone through wedding preparations with my eldest, I cannot imagine what we would have done if someone had suddenly decided that the church was off limits just as we began decorating.

There have been some comments that the pastor should have insisted on having the wedding at the original venue.  I am proud of the parties involved that all were still willing for him to officiate.  Dr. Weatherford could have performed the wedding at FBC Crystal Springs, but he may have been trying to protect the Wilsons from an ugly scene on a day that should be filled with happy memories.  He is quoted by a WLBT reporter as saying, "I wanted to make sure their wedding day was a special day."

I wonder what the service was like at FBC CS the day after the wedding wasn't there.  I hope the few who were opposed to the wedding don't think they won anything.  They have lost so much.  They have lost the respect of their fellow citizens of Crystal Springs.  They have lost the respect of the Christians of Crystal Springs.  I can't really say fellow Christians, because I can't imagine true followers of Christ doing such a loathsome act.  

I pray that the Wilsons don't let this effect the true friendships that they may have made at FBC CS.  I hope that the REAL church steps up to let the light of Christ shine through them.  I will pray for Dr. Weatherford as he follows the leadership of Christ at the church he as been called to serve.  There can be a real opportunity for understanding and growth to come from this situation.  But only if God's church stands up and makes His love known.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Turkeys and a Deer

My morning commute is like going to Grandmother's house:  over the river and through the woods.  Yesterday, as I came around a bend, I had to slow down for a line of turkeys to cross the road.  The chicks were leading the way and 2 adults were bringing up the rear. (These are not the actual turkeys that I saw.  I think our chicks were a bit bigger.) Just off the road was a wire fence that I have seen quail go through, but even the turkey chicks were too big to fit through.  I stopped the car to see what the turkeys would do with humanity at such close range.  To my amazement, one of the adults and half the chicks flew over the fence!  I didn't realize that they could fly so young.  In my rear-view mirror I saw the other adult lead the rest of the chicks around the back of the car to the woods that they had just come from.

Every time I see turkeys, especially turkeys in the road, I think of Neil Wigley, a former music minister at ABC, now a pastor in Arkansas.  He is an avid hunter.  In fact, he is the only man I know to lead a worship service while wearing a ghillie suit.  (Okay, so it was on Camo Sunday, but quite a few guys would have been satisfied with a camouflage tie.)

A mile or so past the turkeys, there was more wildlife.  A deer ran across the road in front of us.  Quite a bit in front of us, I'm happy to say, as my car earned the nickname "Deerslayer" shortly after we purchased it.  On that occasion, we were headed to church for an evening youth function.  A young deer ran out of the woods beside us and crashed into the driver's side of the car.  The vehicle behind us was carrying all the boys that were staying at our house that weekend.  And of course, they were all carrying phones.  We were met in the parking lot by a crowd wanting to inspect the damage to the car.  Then there was Bro. Nick, our new music minister, who wanted to inspect the damage to the deer.  We took him to the scene where he loaded the deceased deer into the back of his pickup.  I learned that Bro. Nick is a very practical man.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yet Another Knitting Post

Not too long ago, I received an e-mail from LionBrand advertising a sale on Microspun yarn.  $1.85 per skein.  I couldn't resist.  I had no idea what I was going to make with any of it (I got several colors).

A few days after it arrived, I discovered a pattern on a knitting website called Ravelry.  It seemed just the thing.  It called for some #10 circular needles, which I do possess.  However, they are currently engaged in another project.  As a result, I am now the owner of some #11 interchangeable circular needles.

 The above picture is about 40% finished. It is knit from the top center, down and outward, so it's upside down here.

 I finished it this afternoon.  I wasn't sure that the 2 skeins of gray would be quite long enough, so I found some maroon bamboo silk in my basket (also a clearance item I got a couple of years ago.)  It's not quite perfect, but it will work very nicely once the weather cools off quite a bit. It's about 60 inches wide at the top and 29 inches long through the center.

 Here's a close-up of the design.  The maroon looks great around the outside edge.  Not counting the price of the new needles, it cost me less than $6.  It just doesn't get any better than that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another Post about Knitting (sort of)

Talking about knitting yesterday got me to thinking about a certain bible verse:  Psalm 139:13
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I must admit, the idea of God knitting intrigues me.  After all, my favorite way of envisioning the Creator is this section from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel:

How easy to imagine some divine needles in that Hand!

And that started a new train of thought.  I looked at what goes into a knitting project.  There is the idea of what the finished project will be.  There is the joy of the creative process.  There is the tactile satisfaction of feeling the needles and the yarn moving through your fingers.

And the choices:  the color and texture and weight of the yarn, the size and style of needles to get the ideal end dimensions.

I can imagine our Heavenly Father making the same decisions about each one of His children.

He chooses to knit some from soft warm yarn in an even pattern to bring comfort to others.

He selects a durable fiber and an open weave for those He knows will enjoy hard work.

For those who will use more thinking power than muscle power, He works out an intricate internal design.

His children are all different, yet all come from their Father's hand.  They are all knit with love and care . . . even those who seem to have a slipped stitch or a flaw in the pattern.  None of those are accidents on His part.  He has a plan for weaving us together . . . . for folding us over one another to create something entirely new . . . . for using the strengths or advantages of one to complement the very different assets of another.

For what purpose has He knit you?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Post about Knitting

Wednesday night at church, one of the GA leaders came up to me and asked me if a particular young lady had found me yet.  I said "No," and was wondering why this child would be looking for me in the first place.  "She came in asking if anyone knew how to knit because she needed to learn how and we all said no, but we know someone who does!"

How often does the opportunity to pass on something that you love to do come knocking on your door?  After the 2nd person told me the same story, I managed to track down the novice knitter.  She knew how to cast on but didn't know what to do to turn it around and knit back across.  Our families were both ready to head home, so I told her I'd show her as soon as I could.

Sunday morning she and I were both there early.  I had brought some yarn and needles from my office (yes, I have some spare knitting supplies stashed in my office - that's another story) just in case she didn't have hers with her.  I underestimated the determination of this child.  She opened her purse and pulled out a small ball of pink yarn and 2 needles.  The needles were not of the same color and this concerned me momentarily.  Usually needle pairs are color coded for size.  But I realized at this stage, it probably didn't matter that much.  I was also concerned that there was nothing already cast onto either needle.  I remember how much trouble I had with casting on when I was first learning.  I thought we wouldn't have time to get past what I  thought was the hardest part.

She surprised me by saying that casting on was not a problem and promptly cast on about 10 stitches in as many seconds!  Wow!  I was impressed.  And she realized that this was a learning process and was not attempting to make something permanent from that little pink ball of yarn.  She said, "This should be enough to learn how, right?"  Right she was!  I stood behind her, took her hands in mine and guided her through the steps.

With the working yarn at the back, stick the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle from front to back, wrap the yarn around the right needle, then pull it through.  Now slip it off the left onto the right.

Now do it again.

Now do it again.

We were doing pretty well until the slick metal needle slipped out of all the stitches and hit the table.  I told her not to worry.  That had happened to me quite often as I was learning how.  Luckily she hadn't gotten very far, so it would be easy to start over. 

That's when I realized that the 40 year difference in our ages had disappeared into nothing.  I was simply someone who was a bit more experienced at what she would like to be able to do.  I've been knitting for just 3 years or so.  Not very much farther along the learning curve than she. 

How exciting!!


Friday, June 8, 2012

I Will Answer You - VBS Day 5

Today's bible story is from:
God answers the prayers of Paul and Silas.

Whatever Paul and Silas prayed for, God heard and answered those prayers.  When we accept God’s promise to answer us, we will pray in good times and in bad, knowing that he will hear and answer.  And in that faith, we too can rejoice and praise God in any situation.

1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

God wants us to stick to Him like iron to a magnet.
Have paperclip climb up a ladder.
Rescue a paperclip from a glass of water without getting wet.
Make a chain by using just magnetism to hold paperclips together.

demonstrate the poles – opposites attract
find the north pole by suspending a magnet by thread

make an electromagnet.  Show that it has the same properties as a natural magnet, but only as long as it has battery power.

magnetic fields can be affected by metals thataren’t magnetic, too.  show the 2 balls (one magnet, the other a steel ball.  show that neither sticks to the aluminum pipe. (See if a roll of aluminum foil from the grocery store works!)  drop them individually down a PVC pipe.  Drop the steel ball down the aluminum pipe.  Now drop the magnet down the aluminum pipe.
The falling magnet causes the electrons in the metal tube (which is a conductor of electricity) to move around in a circular, eddy-like current).  Eddy currents have their own magnetic field that opposes the field of the magnet, slowing it down.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Will Save You - VBS Day 4

Today's story is from John 19:16-18, 29, 30; 20:24-31

Jesus dies to save us.

Truth learned from today's story:  John’s Gospel was written to that people might learn about and believe in Christ, and by believing, receive eternal life!  When we accept God’s promise to save us, we can live our lives filled with hope, confident in God’s plan to redeem our broken lives and to bring us to our eternal home in Heaven.

Today's memory verse:
John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

People in the old testament tried to build a tower to get to Heaven.  It didn’t work.

I’ve heard people say that rockets go into the heavens.  If you mean the sky or the atmosphere or just way, way up then that’s right.  But there is only ONE WAY to get to Heaven where God wants us to be.

We’re going to build another rocket today.  Yesterday’s rocket was powered by a physical reaction.  Today’s will be powered by a chemical reaction.

need film canisters
alka-seltzer tablets broken in half
1 teaspoon of water (medicine dropper works really well for this)

You can make a nose-cone by cutting a 3 1/2 inch diameter circle in half and rolling, then taping it into a cone shape.  Cut out fins and attach them at the base (open end) of canister. See if this makes a difference in the flight.  You can make a paper cylinder  with attached nose cone and place it over the canister.  

You can also make a container for hand-held launches

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Give You What You Need - VBS Day 3


Today's story is from Mark2:1-12
Jesus helps a man brought by four friends

Truth learned from today's story:  When we accept God’s promise to give us what we need, we can trust that He knows our needs even better than we do.  We can be content in knowing that He will provide.

Today's memory verse:
Philippians 4:19 And this same God Who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

God has given us all sorts of things:  hands to do things with, brains to think up ideas, feet to take us where we need to go, friends and families to keep us from being alone.

balloons, strings, straws, tape
That should do it!

race 2 teams
race one kind of string against a different kind.
use different length straws

Offer wool yarn, kitchen twine, and mono-filament. Others?
Several shapes and sizes of balloons.
The straws are cut in half (leftover from bubble day at last year’s VBS.) They can choose to use just one or as many more as they think necessary.

Focus on the teamwork and staying with the plan.  What’s the most important element of the demonstration?  (Hint:  Who had to choose the string and the balloon?  Who had to hold the string?  Who had to blow up the balloon?  Who had to hold it and then release it at the right time?  Who had to tape it to the straws?) A PERSON!!!  People are always more important than things.  Jesus wasn’t concerned about the roof – He was concerned about the 4 men and their friend.  The 4 men had to work together.  If 2 lowered their end of the mat and 2 didn’t, the paralyzed man would have had broken bones and a concussion on top of his other problems.  The 4 men worked as a team to get the job done.  One couldn’t have done it alone.
Our goal as Christians is to be more like Jesus.  If He cared more about people than things and gave them what they needed, we should be the same way.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Care About You - VBS Day 2

Day 2


Today's story is from John11:1-3, 17-44
Jesus cares for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus

Truth learned from today's story:
"When we accept God’s promise to care about us, we know that He shares our pain-just as He shared the pain of Mary and Martha.  And yet, in the midst of that pain, we can be confident that God knows what is to come.  Even though we may not understand the struggles that we face, we know that God cares about us."

Today's memory verse - 1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”

Have you ever been down in the dumps?  We use the word down for when we’re feeling bad.  Have you ever been on cloud 9? Clouds infer sky which is up.  We always think of Heaven as up.  We can make some sad paper scraps or Rice Krispies get happy with static electricity.
Most things (like you, the wall , a soda can, stuff on a paper plate...) have a positive static charge.  When we rub a balloon on our hair or the wool on a PVC  pipe, we build up a negative static charge.  What happens between opposite charges (like N and S on a magnet)?  They attract.
Electrons will rub off some objects and stick to the surface of others. Regular electricity flows, but static electricity is “static” which means not moving.  It sits on the surface of the pipe or the balloon.
Rub a balloon in your hair.  Hold over a paper plate filled with tissue paper scraps or Rice Krispies. (The link says use a record album, but the balloon works much better and is easier to acquire.
Move the balloon over a child’s head (light colored hair works better.)
Make the balloon stick to the wall
Make an empty aluminum soda can roll across a table top.
It’s all because the balloon has extra electrons.  It wants to give those electrons to all the positively charged things, so they move together.
The charged balloon can alter the flow of a small stream of water from the tap.
Tie 6 small strands of tinsel together at each end.  Charge the PVC pipe or a balloon by rubbing it in your hair or with a wool glove. Drop the tinsel onto the balloon or pipe. The tinsel is attracted to the negative charge.  Then, when it touches the pipe, it picks up the negative charge.  What happens between like charges?  They repel.  Even the individual strands of the tinsel are repelling each other.  That’s why it looks like a ball.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Am With You - VBS Day 1

Every day this week, I'm going to post my Mad Science notes.  It's probably a bit disjointed for reading, but it covers what we talked about and has links for ideas that you can do at home.

Today's story is from Daniel 3:1, 4-28
God is with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Truth learned from today's story: 
"Because they knew God was with them, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood boldly for what was right.  When we accept God’s promise to be with us, we can stand firm in whatever circumstances we face, know we too are never alone."

Today's memory verse - Isaiah 41:10 
 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I really like that part at the end:  “I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Think about what you do with your hand:  not just things that require both hands, but your “doing” hand.  Most people are right handed.  (You lefties, I understand your frustration.  Mr. H is a lefty and so is Dr. T and my new SIL). 
God specified His right hand because that was understood as the hand of purpose.  If you’re going to pick up a pen or pencil to write something, you pick it up with a specific hand, your working or dominant hand. 
Today, we’re going to make something with our hands:  Paper Airplanes.  I have a few different types to show you.  Some work better for some purposes than others.  Some don’t even look likeairplanes!
Show them how to make Nakamura Loch. Explain dihedralangle (Y profile), elevator, and rudder.
Sometimes bad things happen to us.  But even though those things might be a bit painful, they might be happening to help us.  If I use my hands to tear the back wing of the air plane it might seem like I’m damaging it.   However, if I make those tears to create some elevator flaps, it will keep the plane from diving into the ground.  Let God keep you in the palm of His righteous right hand.  That’s where the most useful tools do their best work.
Here are some other websites that have different airplane designs:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Paper Lanterns for Reception Tables

Not too long after our eldest became engaged, I saw an idea for a reception table decoration.  Since she had decided on a rustic theme, I suggested these paper lanterns with a bird window to match her invitations.  We ended up making 17 lanterns in all.  I started way ahead of time with the cutting and scoring, then waited until the week of the wedding for the assembly.  The paper stored flat in a drawer, but the 17 lanterns took up a bit of space.
Paper Bird Lanterns

Here are the supplies that you'll need to get started:  
  • 2 sheets of sturdy paper for each lantern body. 8.5 x 11 is what I used.
  • A translucent paper for the window and the top.  Depending on your cut-out opening, you may be able to get 2 or 3 from a single sheet of 8.5 x 11. My design was about 3 inches from the top of the bird's head to the bottom of his tail.  I got 3 strips from each sheet. You can get 2 tops from one sheet.
  • Exacto knife for cutting out the window shape (or a punch if you can find one in the shape you need.  Butterflies abound:  birds we liked, did not!) This pink swivel x-acto was perfect for all the curvy cuts.
  • Stencil (if you're not using a punch)
  • pen or pencil for tracing your stencil
  • Cutting mat or something to protect your working surface from the knife
  • Ruler
  • Butter knife (You don't want a serrated blade for scoring for the folds)
  • Glue stick or some other glue made for paper products.  Those sold in the scrapbooking section of your favorite store work best as they don't tend to wrinkle the paper.  Elmer's school glue is a bit wet for this purpose.

The DIY stencil pastic I found was 10 inches wide, which was perfect for my purpose.  The finished lantern is 5 inches on a side.  I drew the outline of the birds we wanted on the stencil.  This design was going to continue around the corner of the lantern, so I centered it on the 10 inch plastic.  If your design is single, center it within 5 inches.
The cut-out openings at the bottom are 3 inches wide.  Leave a 1 inch tab on each end and a 2 inch tab in the center. (1+3+2+3+1= 10)  The last inch of the 11 inch paper will be used to attach 2 pieces together into a square.  Ignore it for now.

You'll notice that the birds are reversed from the above picture to the one below.  Flip the stencil over.  I did this so that when I draw the design on the good paper, I'm drawing on the back of it.  That way, I don't have to worry about pencil lines showing on the good side.  To make sure I always put it properly on the paper, I wrote myself some notes about how to line it up.  If I couldn't read it, I knew I had the stencil wrong side up. (you can click on the picture to see it enlarged)
If your paper has a right side and a wrong side, be sure to have the wrong side up to draw on.  I lined the stencil at the bottom right corner of the paper to draw the foot openings.  Then I slid it up to the top right corner to draw the birds, so they would be closer to the top.
For cutting out the bottom openings, it helps to use a ruler (with a metal edge) as a guide to slide your knife along.  This keeps the line nice and straight.
The picture below shows the paper with the elements cut out.
 Here you'll see that the paper is flipped over to show the right side - the side I didn't draw on.  Now you're ready to score the paper so that the folding lines stay straight.  On the finished lantern, one inch will overlap and be glued to make the box shape.  Line the ruler up one inch from the edge of the paper.  Make sure it's that empty 11th inch that you ignored when you were making your stencil.  Holding the ruler firmly, run the butter knife hard against it to make a grove in the paper.
 Now do the same thing five inches from the other edge.  This will place the score line in the center of the 2 inch foot tab.  You now have a 5-inch section on the left, another 5-inch section in the center and a 1-inch section on the right.
 With the size of my cut out, I was able to cut my translucent sheets into 3 even strips, a bit over 3.5 inches wide.
 The strips needed to fit inside the corner of the box, so I scored them across the middle.
 Now you're ready for some assembly.
(sorry, I forgot to take a picture of an assembly step here.  Fold along those score lines you made on the big lantern papers.  You'll need 2 sheets for each lantern.  Put glue around the cut-out window and place the translucent paper over the opening.  Make sure it's not too tight or loose with the paper folded like it will be when finished.)

Now put some glue on the outside-the good side - of the 1 inch section on one sheet and more glue on the inside - the wrong side- of the other sheet.  Press them together.  Then join the far left with the far right the same way you joined the center.  Glue on the outside of the 1 inch section and the inside edge of the other end.  Stick them together.
Now you've got your basic box.
To make a top, cut a 5.5 inch by 6 inch piece from your translucent paper.  You can get 2 per sheet.  Score it so that you have a 5 inch square in the center.  That will be 1/4 inch from 2 sides and 1/2 inch from the other 2 sides.  Cut the little corners out with scissors so you'll have tabs to attach inside the lantern.  I used tape rather than glue for this attachment.
Here is the finished lantern.  Please be sure to use battery operated lights inside.  You DO NOT want to use candles with a real flame in a paper lantern!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Transporting Teapots

This is a box containing 9 teapots on my kitchen table.  It went to work with me this morning.
Saturday afternoon, the Ladies Ministry of ABC is having a Titus 2 Tea.  Some of the ladies hosting tables don't own teapots.  I, on the other hand, have quite a few!

In addition to the 9 in the box, there are  at least 7 (that I can see, even though those cabinets are dark) up on the shelves.  The tall white pot in the center cabinet was brought home from Japan by Mr. H's father when he was in the Navy many decades ago.  The tall blue set on the end was made by a friend of my Grandmother Louise.  No one else in the family seemed to want it, but I loved the color and style.

In another cabinet, there's even one still in the box. It was my Grandma Nell's.  She was very proud of that particular set of dishes.

And I have 2 tea pots in my office. (and yes, I have a jar full of tea to brew in them in my office, too)

A few weeks ago, I overheard some of the ladies planning the tea party and mentioned that if they needed any teapots to let me know.  Last night at choir practice, one of the ladies in charge asked if I had 7 or 8.  No problem!

Here is the cast of characters:

     The green and brown pot on the left was a gift from my eldest.  She painted it for me last year at a place called Dandy Doodlez in Starkville.
     The white one with the Chinese character is the only pot I have that has a built-in strainer in front of  the spout on the inside.  It's made for loose tea rather than tea bags.  It gets used a lot.
     Next is a little house.  I can't remember where it came from, but Em insisted that it was too cute to stay home from the party.
     The solid white pot with the tall lid was a wedding present.  It is part of the set of everyday dishes that Mr. H and I picked out 30 years ago.
     In the center is the pot that goes with our current dishes.  I have loved Blue Willow dishes since I read a book about a Blue Willow plate when I was in elementary school.  My mom gave the tea pot to me for Christmas one year.
     The plain white pot to the right of the Blue Willow is the most basic pot I own.  It's just a blue speckled pot, but it's got a very friendly feel to it.  It's heavy and not fancy so there's no fear of breaking an heirloom.  I just really like this pot.
     Take a close look at the next pot.  About 19 years ago a friend of mine was getting married and she invited me to be her matron of honor.  She gave me this pot as a gift.  When I first pulled it out of the box, the lid was was not on it.  Honestly, it looked like a baby's behind!

     The white pot with pink flowers belonged to my Grandmother Louise.  Recently, I found a pattern for a knitted teapot cozy.
I finished it while I was in Peru last week, without a teapot to try it on for fit.  The pot from my eldest and the speckled pot were both too "puffy" (a term we heard from our translators in Peru for those a bit round around the middle!)  But it fits perfectly on the flowered pot. :)

     The last pot, the one with the magnolia on it, is pretty. It also has a label on the bottom warning you that it will last longer if you use hot water rather than boiling water in it.  Really?  I guess that's why the Chinese pot and the speckled pot had to have tea stains removed and this pot looks like it's never been used.  Think about it:  if you aren't supposed to make tea in it, is it really a tea pot?

Herb Garden Update

Here's an update on the herb garden.
Oregano on the top.  Basil in the middle.
Cilantro and dill on the bottom.
It smells wonderful.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Herb Garden

Several weeks ago I saw pictures of a patio herb garden made from different size tubs and pails.  I knew I needed to have one on my front porch.

I went to Tractor Supply Co. in Lucedale looking for my tubs.  I had never been in the store before.  What a wonderful place!  Stuff that I didn't know where to find, they have it.  It is on my VBS Mad Science shopping-go-to list from now on.

I got a 16 3/4 gallon tub, a 7 gallon tub, and a 2 or 3 gallon bucket (I can't remember which, but it doesn't really matter.)  I got a 2 cubic yard bag of potting soil at Wal-Mart to fill them up.  I was a little worried that it wouldn't be enough dirt, so I put an empty gallon milk jug (lid on) in the bottom tub in the spot where the smaller tub would rest over it.  No need for lots of soil depth under the next tub.  (be sure to rinse the jug well first.  souring milk releases gases that can blow the lid off and I'm not sure what that would do to the tub above it.)

I planted oregano seeds in the top tier, due mainly to a vague remembrance that oregano can take over a container or even a garden.

The middle tier has basil and rosemary.

In the bottom tub, I planted cilantro and dill.  I don't think the dill has made an appearance yet.  I could be wrong, though, because I've never grown dill.  It may look similar to cilantro in the beginning.

 I am looking forward to the day I can smell all those herbs every time I walk out the front door.