On Instagram this month, I am posting a heart a day, #amonthofhearts. AllSparkledUpDesign . Today is Day 23 and I thought it would be fun to share the full size image here. I’ve had most of these charms since my childhood and some go back to my mother’s childhood. Some are old Cracker Jack prizes, some are homemade. My granddaughter and I spent a couple enjoyable hours placing these charms in heart shape for this photo. Click on the image to access the full size. At the end of the month, I’ll post the rest of the photos here as well. Enjoy!
If you follow me on Instagram, AllSparkledUpDesign, you know I’m posting A Month of Hearts. Today is Day 14 and there are 14 days of hearts to go! Here are the hearts I’ve posted so far. Make sure you check instagram so you can read all the captions that go with these photos. Love to you all!
14 Happy Valentine’s Day!
Yesterday I took a poinsettia outside to shake out the dead leaves. One leaf from the poinsettia had fallen. And then it rained during the night.
The day was busy but from the dining room, the tiny sparkle caught my eye.
I looked closer and it was even sparklier.
What are you missing today? Is there something you need to look at? What is tiny and quiet that you forgot? Love it all. And if you’re what has fallen, collect light from where you are.
Never give up.
So happy she loved the gift I made for her! Specialty Sugars for her tea and coffee and sprinkling on toast, cereal or anything else that needs a little sweet sparkle.
I bought the decorative knobs and glass jars at Hobby Lobby. It was easy drilling a hole in the corks, using a hack saw to shorten the knob bolt and gluing them together with a few beads.
~ Lavender Sugar ~
I ground up culinary lavender with a mortar and pestle, then put the lavender and sugar in a food processor. The lavender sugar was then layered with crystal sugar in the jar.
~ Lemon Orange Sugar ~
Lemon and Orange zest were placed in a food processor with sugar and ground medium fine. I’ve been making this mixture for years for use in cheesecake because it makes a very fine textured cheesecake. To fill the jar, I spooned in a layer of Lemon Orange Sugar then used tongs to place white sugar cubes against the side of the jar. Then I spooned in more sugar and repeated the layers. Next time I’ll add more orange zest for a darker orange colored sugar.
~ Vanilla Bean Sugar ~
I scraped the seeds from two vanilla beans and ground the seeds with sugar in a food processor. I used one half of each vanilla bean, split lengthwise, to place in the jar. I spooned in about 1″ of Vanilla Sugar in the bottom of the jar. Then I used tongs and a wood skewer to position each vanilla bean against the side of the jar before adding the rest of the Vanilla Sugar.
~ Pumpkin Spice Sugar ~
This recipe is something one of my sons and I made up, based on the spice ratio I use in my Pumpkin Pies. We keep this sugar blend on hand to make Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which everyone knows don’t have any pumpkin in them anyway. haha. Still, the flavor is very close to my pumpkin pies, sans pumpkin. To fill this jar, I used a small spoon and a tiny funnel I made from two straws. I can’t explain how I did the design but if you look up “sand art in a bottle” on youtube, you’ll get the idea. The white layer is Vanilla Bean Sugar. The dark brown “spots” in the white layer are pieces of cinnamon stick. I wanted to position the cinnamon stick pieces to look like hearts but the white sugar kept filling in the spaces so it didn’t work out.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” it is said. So true. I couldn’t access my precut wood pieces or run a saw so I ended up using the only wood on hand, a 30 year old piece of Sassafrass root from my parents property. It’s been in my tea collection for decades and still has a beautiful scent. I used a small craft saw to cut thin slices of the wood to make the tags. I wrote on them with permanent marker. Now I wonder if I had wood-burned the words in… could the slice of sassafrass be steeped in boiling water to flavor tea? What fun that would be! I’ll have to try it out.
31 Wonderful Things Severe Pain Taught Me
1. Your mind is very powerful. “Mind over matter” makes sense when you’re dealing with crippling pain. Fill your mind with wisdom and knowledge. There is plenty of room for thoughts that aren’t related to your pain at all.
2. You’ve heard it said, but those who have been there truly know: You ARE much stronger than you ever thought humanly possible. If you think today’s pain is a 10, downgrade it to a six. Then rejoice that you’re still 4 away from max.
3. There may or may not be another day. But time is on your side. Time is not the enemy because God is in charge of your time. And God never makes mistakes.
4. You CAN adapt.
5. These statements are simultaneously true: Things can always get worse… AND… This is the worst it will ever get. Which means this moment, right here, right now, can be the most fantastic moment you’ve ever had. Make it that way.
6. There are many ways of coping with pain. If one way doesn’t work, try something different.
7. Laughter can be The Best Medicine Ever. You’ve got to try it! Read humor, watch comedy, laugh with family and friends. Don’t just hope laughter might happen, deliberately make it happen.
8. Distractions are valuable. Listen, taste, see, smell, feel something new. Enjoy it slow.
9. Friends are pure gold, whether they’re wearing skin or fur.
10. Don’t let the sick part of you stop the healthy part of you. Let pain take up only its own space. If your head hurts but your hands are fine, let your hands delight in the day.
11. It’s never too late to learn something new, even something challenging. Learn a new language, study geography, literature, science, art.
12. There is a time to fight pain and a time to roll with pain. When pain is an ocean, be a fish.
13. Always take a little less pain medication than you need. Learn to be comfortable with pain instead of always trying to banish it.
14. Be glad if you have identified your pain-bearing limit. Then work to stretch it further.
15. You CAN do this! You can live WITH pain. Don’t listen to any voices that say you can’t. Don’t listen to voices that only want to lay pity on you. They aren’t helpful and you end up stuck in a swamp.
16. It’s OK to cry. Let your eyes express and acknowledge pain. But remember to let your mouth smile. Your mouth is good for that.
17. Pain is divisive. It will divide parts of your body from functioning together. It will divide people from functioning together. Fight against further dysfunction. Recognize the crevasses caused by pain and build bridges to go over.
18. Remember that this life is not the end. We were created to live after our bodies can’t go further. This life is the path to the next.
19. Pain is a heavy weight, sticky and personal. Don’t make your pain an issue that pulls others down into the stickiness. Let others help lift you up from it.
20. Pain is a noun. Give it a name… like Motivator, Teacher, or Police. Artist, Poet or Musician. Rest or Transformation. Never let pain become Politician, Spoiled Child, Bully or Tyrant. Make your pain the noun you want to live with.
21. Pain is a story, with a beginning, middle and end. Write the story you want pain to be.
22. If you face pain, face it fully. If you run from pain, don’t miss the scenery.
23. You do have a strong will. But maybe you let it get weak. Work at strengthening your will power.
24. Pain is dark. Find ways to add more light. There are always ways to add light. Find ways to “Be the Bright.”
25. There will always be something excellent that you can derive from pain. Don’t look for the damage pain caused, look for the benefit.
26. Don’t confuse fear with pain. Fear can be conquered even if pain can’t be.
27. Everyone has pain. You are NOT alone.
28. Pain can be ugly or beautiful. You’re in charge of that.
29. Don’t let pain get louder than it should be. Pain only has a voice if you give it one. If Pain needs to speak, try letting it speak through writing, through painting, through music. Some of the most beautiful art in this world was created with pain.
30. Listen to other people. Even if that’s all you can do, it’s ok to just listen.
31. God is here now and he knows everything about pain. Have some great discussions on the topic with him.
I’m praying for you. Sometimes it’s not about the completed painting, the final finish line. Today there is beauty in the brushstrokes, the breaths taken one after the other. Today the beauty is in the heartbeat and the single footstep, the eye contact and hand holding.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Every breath has enormous value.
The tiniest book I ever made was titled “Blue Flowers” and included tiny paintings and descriptions of blue flowers. In order to qualify for “micro mini” status, it had to be under 1/4″ square.
I think I made 7 copies and traded them with book making friends. I have one copy but don’t remember where the other copies went. Each book with blue suede cover and gilded page edges was tucked inside a tiny blue flower.
The text was printed using a laser printer. When the pages were cut apart from the sheet of printer paper, I had to be careful not a single breeze blew over my worktable since I couldn’t see the text and would have to use a magnifying glass to put them all back in order again. I was glad when I had all the pages stitched together!
The paintings were so fun to make! Some day I hope to make a tiny book about Pink Flowers. But that will have to happen soon before my eyesight ages even more.
The plan was to get a free cup of hot coffee from “Luke’s Diner” in town. Commemorating the 16th anniversary of Gilmore Girls, and to celebrate the upcoming debut of a Gilmore Girls mini series, Netflix sponsored pop-up “Luke’s Diner” in coffee shops all over the country. Oh my goodness, I love that show!
I had every intention of going and really looked forward to it. In fact, I even walked toward the line and snapped a picture. What a special event in town!
But then I started to miss my own “Rory” so much that I had to leave. If I had stayed, I feared I would have started to cry and end up blubbering something like “Will you please be my daughter? I miss my daughter! Anyone in this line, can I please be your Lorelai because my daughter lives halfway to China and I’m missing her so much and we watched Gilmore Girls together when she was going to college and HOW can I possibly get a cup of coffee that we would have shared but can’t because she’s halfway to China??” If I had stayed, I totally would have done that. 0_0
So I left without coffee, immediately went home and did a Sookie thing – I whipped up some Sugar Crusted Orange Ginger Muffins and cried the entire time. I sure did.
I made up this recipe years ago, just because I needed a batter that fit in the big, new muffin tins. I still use my favorite batter-scooping spoon, even though the handle is broken.
Sugar Crusted Orange Ginger Muffins
Sift together in a large bowl:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
Mix together in another bowl:
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp grated orange rind
Mix together in another bowl:
3/4 cup raisins (I like golden best but any raisin will do)
3/4 cup candied ginger cut up into little pieces (I never buy the precut ginger because it has too much sugar sprinkled on it. All that extra sugar changes the texture of the recipe. It’s better to buy candied, sliced ginger and cut it up yourself with scissors.)
Dump the egg mixture into the flour mixture and quickly stir with a whisk or wooden spoon about 5 or 6 strokes. Mixture will be lumpy and NOT mixed together.
Dump in the raisins and ginger.
Stir quickly and thoroughly but briefly using a wood spoon or whisk. Mixture will be lumpy. Make sure you scrape the dry ingredients off the bottom of the bowl while mixing. If the batter gets rubbery and stretchy, you mixed it too long and the muffins might be tough. Anyway, drop spoonfuls of batter into greased, large muffin tins.
Sprinkle tops with coarse sugar crystals.
BAKE at 400F for 20-25 minutes.
Makes 12 large muffins.
After I had two cups of good strong coffee and a muffin, I felt better. But since I miss my daughter so much, I’m declaring it Official Wallowing Day. Truly. At least once a year I just need a good wallow.
I miss you and love you, Heather. <3
And Texas just seems like half-way to China. ;)
Photos just can’t capture what the eye sees. I walked under the ice-coated branches and looked up through them. I wish everyone could experience the beauty of an ice storm. We lost power for a couple days so that wasn’t easy getting through but what I remember most is the crystalline beauty. Diamonds!
I put away all the Christmas decorations except for one – the Snow and Crystal Tree. The corner will be too empty if I put it away and I love the wintery look of it. The snowflakes remind me of scribbles. Scribble Snowflakes!
The tree is a dried branch cut from a tree in the woods behind our house. I stuck it firmly into Styrofoam in an urn and laid moss around the base.
The crystals are from the old chandelier that used to hang in my parents’ dining room when I was a child. I loved that chandelier so I’m thrilled to have some of the crystals from it.
The snowflakes are made of natural tendrils and curls that I collected from the vines in the backyard in the fall. My granddaughter helped me look for the curly tendrils and we really enjoyed our time together outdoors.
To make the snowflakes, I broke off the dry twigs and slid the curly tendrils off. Here is a photo I posted on instagram of the twig bits with the tendrils removed.
Each snowflake needed six similar pieces so I grouped the tendrils by size.
Once I had six similar tendrils, I trimmed the ends so they were the same length.
For each snowflake, I made a contoured mat out of foil for gluing. A small bead was glued temporarily on the back of the foil so it would create a small mound on the right side.
On the right side of the foil, on top of the tiny mound, I glued a small bead for the center of the snowflake. All the tendrils will then be glued to this bead using hot glue.
The tendrils were arranged around the center bead in a pleasing manner.
The two straightest tendrils were glued on first, opposite each other, to create the line of symmetry.
The other tendrils were glued on the sides and the hot glue was allowed to harden.
To remove the delicate snowflake, the foil was folded and pinched together under the snowflake. Then the snowflake was gently popped off the foil. One of the snowflakes stuck too much so I used tweezers to pull the foil off and reglue the tendrils that had loosened.
The snowflakes were hung with thin hooks I made from jewelry wire.
The vintage crystals look lovely on the tree.
The little fox ornament I got several years ago finally found a home… at the base of the Snow and Crystal tree.
I don’t know what to put in the corner when this tree comes down.. probably a lamp. But then again, perhaps I’ll make a Snowy Valentine tree…