Heartfelt Wreath Craft Tutorial

One of the things you learn when you sell at conventions is that you will invariably have downtime.  You’ll find yourself sitting in your booth with no customers around.  You have one of two choices: either sit there, staring at everyone who wanders by with that hungry look of “Come buy from meeeee!” or you can find busy work that keeps the aura of desperation at bay.  I quickly took up playing with felt in between customers.  I started off just making little creatures for my daughter from the Aranzi Cute Stuff Book.  Soon I moved on to making less little kid friendly projects: Gothic Love Charms, Poisoned Posies and the like.

Which is where this tutorial comes in.  I found myself with some leftover green felt from the pumpkins project.  I already had some red on hand, and I needed a wreath for the holiday season.  Thus, the Heartfelt* Wreath was born.

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Peter Rubi

Saturday is usually market day for us, which means heading out to Peter Rubi.  It is a bit of a drive from us; a trip that takes us out through farmland and by the Dupage River.  Despite the drive, the trip is always worth it, enough for us to make it weekly.  And by picking up our produce first, it makes planning meals for the week easier.  It also assures that I’m planning meals that use up all the produce so we don’t have sad, ruined veggies sitting in the fridge at the end of the month.

This time around we spent a total of $17 on a bunch of spinach and romaine lettuce, lemons, limes, two pineapples, a package of raspberries and blackberries, a pomegranate, two 8-lb bags of potatoes (for $1 each), garlic, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, and oranges for Charlotte’s lunch.  Factor in what we spent on gas and that’s about $25 for a week plus of food.

We make a lot of crock pot soups and stews, which is where most of the potatoes and carrots will go.  The berries, pomegranate and pineapple will go into fruit salads for breakfast or desert.  My goal is also to have salad with every dinner this week, which will use up the bulk of romaine, spinach and cucumbers.  And Stephan has offered to make potato pancakes.

Peter Rubi’s focus is on locally grown produce, which is probably why the food on their shelves always seems better than what I come across at my local grocery stores.  I would love to see more of these types of grocers open up, especially in areas that are underserved by the larger grocery store chains.  Shops like FARM:shop that bring urban farming into a grocery setting, and selling “ugly” produce like in France could help to get more vegetables and fruits to people who don’t have as many options. That would certainly be a more productive move than chastising people for “poor food choices” and trying to ban them from buying soda with food stamps.

Tikkun Olam

The Hebrew expression “Tikkun Olam” literally means “to repair the world.” Ideologically, it suggests a wholehearted acceptance of the world’s brokenness along with our ability to repair it, or at least our ability to try. It does not point to a particular time or transgression. it does not cast blame. It does not indulge the notion of absolute good or evil. It simply accepts that we live in a broken world and can, or should (if and when we are ready), reach toward its repair. I consider this a reasonable position. Like the sentiment behind the lovely Buddhist saying “Live joyfully in a world of sorrows,” Tikkun Olam recognizes the folly of life but never shirks from reaching for the good.

—Harriet Fasenfest, A Householder’s Guide to the Universe


Thanksgiving/Thanksgaming 2014

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Most of my fondness comes from my childhood.  I remember every year heading over to my grandparents’ place, where the rest of our extended family had gathered.  Cousins ran around while my grandma, mother and aunts got the dinner ready.  Everyone brought some dish or dessert (mostly desserts).  Around two o’clock the food would be laid out, buffet style, over kitchen counters and the isle and then took seats at one of the many tables set up throughout the house.  Yes, there was an adults’ table, and several kids’ tables.  After was more running around for the kids, football for the adults and hours devoted to seconds and thirds.  Come the evening, after board games and pinochle, the leftovers would be parceled out.  We’d all head home, stuffed and happy.

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Scenes from a marriage: Anniversaries

Scenes from a marriage.
roach: Ben, did you know that four years ago today–
Stephan: Five years.
roach:–five years ago today your daddy and I got married?

(At least I remembered today is our anniversary.) (Thanks to my sister.) (I’m not good with dates is what I’m trying to say.)

Booktree 2013