Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shows and Fairs

In the past month I had my first intro into the word of art fairs and craft shows. I will elaborate on this later with pictures, etc. But I am just musing tonight on how different each can be. My first two were as I now see in retrospect very good.My last two were total bummers.

I have no idea what makes a good one. Perhaps the last two were to close too Christmas. Perhaps my products are too fancy for this area. The one show had perhaps done too little advertising.

With my first failed attempt at a show I was really, really down. I had really had my hopes on making some money before Christmas- money we needed to get by until we get back home. It took me a long time to get my attitude straightened out.

The second show I did which also didn't produce any sales was fun. I really enjoyed visiting with the other vendors. I even got a nice pitcher in a trade from the Tupperware table. So even though I again made no money- thus going further in the "hole" it was still a fun way to spend a Monday evening.

I have learned a lot through these 4 shows. I still don't know what people like best in my shop. That seems to just be determined by the crowd.

Anyhow- in honor of my first  4 shows, I am offering a special coupon code good for 40 % off one item in my shop. Offer expires Dec. 20th at NOON.

Use the code 4SHOWS at checkout for this discount.

Thanks for being a faithful reader on my blog and a friend!

My shop Silkiness

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Coping with Life

As the whole world reels at the murders of innocent children I find myself in a black hole of emptiness, sadness and hopelessness. 

Every event I attend, ever gift I spend looking for in a public place is accompanied by a wariness- and an expectation of dread. 

As would be joyful songs blast around me I find myself spirit anywhere but full of joy this season. 

As I put my children to bed, and caress the face of my baby tears stream down my face. I ache with every mother who lost a child and the nightmares that haunt her every breath as she sees her child'd last day in her mind. 

I fight disgust in the pit of my stomach over the evil in our world and the depravity that allows people to do acts of terror. 

I fear for the future of myself and my family- never knowing what may face our next day. But my fear is not of death, for I fear not to meet my life Giver face to face. 

What do I fear then, I ask myself? The fear of the unknown? The fear of not knowing who would raise my children? The fear of not knowing who they will become?

And somewhere in all my whirling emotions I have this strange feeling that perhaps it is better to escape this life while young and still innocent. At least if my children died young I would know they ended up in heaven and I would see them there. Perhaps that sounds morbid, and I don't mean it that way. It is just sometimes I so fear the evils of this world and how I can possibly raise godly children in it. I am sometimes so dragged down by the darkness that I fail to see that I have the Light walking with me and all I need to do is let Him again shine brightly into this dark hole call I life in and give me peace in all this mess. 

I don't need to know where I am going in this dark life I cannot understand. I only need to trust that He is leading and trust that He will carry me through every nightmare I might face. 

Oh Lord, 
help us this day to find our hope in you! 
Be with every family in sorrow this day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fremont Newspaper

So excited for this write up in the Fremont Tribune. Thanks Tammy for the great write up, you did a lovely job! 


Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Thieves Market

I am super excited to be a part of this art fair tomorrow in Iowa City. The silk artist she mentions is me and I feel so honored to be featured in their ad. Looking forward to a great day tomorrow. Come out and enjoy the fun! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winter Tour

During these next two months my etsy shop may be quieter than before because my focus will be on the winter travel and schedule I am doing.

I am doing silk painting classes here in the Midwest during a holiday trip to see my parents.

I will also be doing a number of shows and art fairs. These are all new to me and I am looking forward to meeting new people and gaining new experience.

My class schedule is as follows:

Nov. 10- Harlan, Iowa
Nov 20- Omaha, NE
Nov 26 - Menomonie, WI
Dec 3- Omaha, NE (tentatively)
Dec 8- Fremont, NE

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What a Husband Wants

Today I listed to a broadcast on Focus on the Family and it had some great ideas how to make our men happy.  I know we know most of these things, but they were good reminders. Take a listen here
  1. He wants to be followed. 
  2. He wants someone to help him: Help him be what he was made to be. 
  3. He wants to be desired.
  4. He wants someone to love him: To love him as he is, without wanting to change him. 
  5. He needs someone to encourage him: Write notes, or encourage him through deeds. 
  6. He needs to someone to believe in him. 
  7. He needs someone to admire him: Like we used to do when our eyes sparkled, and we fawned over him. 
What do you say, do you agree?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Morgan Silks: A Featured Artist Interview

Today I have the honor of introducing you to one of the newest members of the Silk Artists Team on Etsy. I have been enjoying getting to know this lovely lady at Morgan Silks.She is no stranger to the world of silk painting and has so much to teach those like me just entering this wonderful world of silk painting.

About you: I am a retired teacher, who has been experimenting with dyes and fabric since all the way back to the 1970's. I was taking an undergraduate course in fabric design from Nancy Belfer, who was working on a book about tie dye and was very secretive. We because friends and I did get supply information from her-- but nothing else, as she was working on her book. I just took it from there and experimented on my own. (I was pretending to be studying weaving). Here is some info about her:

Why silk painting? I was a painter, but felt ambivalent about producing works that would just sit on the wall. I wanted to create pieces that would be useful. Scarves were the practical thing, and I just took it from there.
Her current favorite.

What inspires your paintings? Nature. color juxtaposition, and negative / positive space.

What is your favorite silk painting you have done?
My favorite is usually the last piece I design. My favorites are all sold, but this one is my current squeeze: www.etsy.com/listing/110999725/silk-scarf-large-crepe-tiger-swallowtail
Probably because I agonized over it so long.

Your favorite type of silk, dyes, resist, etc.

I started buying from dharmatrading when their catalog was a piece of construction paper. I am loyal to them, and have discussed product with the CEO. The hemming has been an issue because of the imports. Powdered fiber reactive dyes are the best, and I have tried lots of others but it comes out on top.

Please tell us about your method:
I use whatever method I can come up with that will give me the effects I need. The powdered dyed is mixed with a solution of sodium alginate, which gives it a paint-like quality. The more the water, the thinner. I use the thickened dye just like I would watercolor paint. Sometimes I monoprint right from the plant, but most of the time I decide what I want to depict and then figure out a way to do it.
I have never taken a silk painting lesson and am glad I haven't. People who do come out looking formulaic. Because I taught academics to adolescents with learning problems for decades, I am used to analyzing the problem and figuring a way to deal with it. I have used as many techniques as there are scarves, and am always on the lookout for more.

Please share a tip for other silk artists or those interested in silk art:
Experiment. Taking lessons from other silk painters can ruin your creativity.

You can read more about Morgan Silks here:

Etsy Featured Artist
US News and World Report

To find more of her and her beautiful art:

Website: www.morgansilkscarf.com
Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/morgansilk
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/morgansilk

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Tomorrow in my cooking class with the girls we are going to make bagels. This recipe looks fantastic. I have used others in the past but I going to give this one a whirl tomorrow. What is your favorite bagel recipe? Do share! 

Picture borrowed from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plain-Bagel.jpg

My Plate

I have this problem with my stomach and it seems to have started about the time my second child was born. My stomach is super sensitive to what I eat and I MUST be careful not to eat certain things. One of which is sauteed sauerkraut- Latvian style. However, I do so enjoy sauerkraut and this weekend I ate some. 

I have been paying for ever since with lots of tummy problems. This is not a new problem and I am trying to baby myself through and hope my stomach will be back to normal soon. 

Today I was thinking a lot about this stomach problem and wondering if it is the food or the stress in my life. 

I have a lot of stuff going on in my life now. They are all good things, important things and many of them are necessary things. But I began to realize that my plate it a bit too full. 

I had this visual picture of a nice full plate of veges- all of them good- and all of them healthy. But when I look at that plate of veges I know it is too many and I will NEVER be able to eat them all. This is the plate of my life now. My life is full of lots of good things, but my plate is overflowing with being a Mom of 3, preparing for a huge trip and just life in general. I am coming to realize that I am subconsciously stressed out. 

Thus my stomach is super duper sensitive. 

So as I did research about possible stomach issues. And as I prayed I came to some solutions/conclusions. 

I will: 

  1. Try to do less. 
  2. Try to relax when I eat and believe my tummy will be ok. Breathing deeply and believing that God will use these foods to benefit my body and help me make milk for my breastfed baby rather than torturing me and confining me to the WC. 
  3. Make healthy diet choices and try to say now to those coveted foods that I know my tummy hates. 

How do you deal with your stress? 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Liebster Award

Much to my surprise I have been nominated for the Liebster award. Not knowing what that was I soon came to realize it is for blogs with fewer followers than 200. The idea is to help them get more followers, as far as I can tell. So thanks Brittany, from The Domestic Geek for nominating me.

The rules were stated to me as follows:
  • Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
  • They must also answer the 11 questions the tagger has set for them.
  • They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
  • They must then choose 11 bloggers to tag with less than 200 followers.
  • These lucky bloggers must be told.
  • There are no tag backs.

Details about me:
  1. I love crafts, I always have been a doodler. From my earliest memories of math and writing I remember turning my numbers into people with hair and faces. I enjoy painting, sewing, felting, etc. 
  2. I love to cook. But I especially love baking. I am known amongst my friends for my delicious sweets. 
  3. I love trying out new and unusual recipes- that comes with the cooking part. 
  4. I was homeschooled until I graduated from high school. So my first real school experience was when I started college. 
  5. I loved being homeschooled and would love to do so with my kids. However, it isn't very well looked upon where I now live in Latvia. 
  6. I had my first 2 kids at home, and my 3rd in water. I like being more natural :) 
  7. My most interesting current birthday memory was when we celebrated my 30th birthday in Paris. 
  8. I would love to have my own coffee shop and bakery. I have way too many business ideas. 
  9. I love writing, journaling, etc. I have over 20 full journals. 
  10. I taught English in China one summer while in college. I loved it, I would love to go back someday. 
  11. We had two weddings when we got married so that friends and family in both countries could participate. One was just a show though- and one was the real thing : 

Questions from my nominator, Brittany at The Domestic Geek

 1. If you had a time machine, when and where would you go? 
  • I would go to England in the time of Jane Austen. 
2. Do you believe in ghosts?
  • No, I do not. 
3. What is your favorite fall treat?
  • Apple cider
4. Do you have a favorite hot beverage, name it!
  • Hot chocolate
5. What is your favorite kitchen appliance or gadget?
  • Either my Kitchen Aid mixer or my hand blender. 
6. Do you decorate for Halloween?
  • No, I don't.
7. Do you like or hate surprises?
  • I love them, and love planning them. 
8. What was your favorite class in High School?
  • History, or music.
9. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • A missionary
10. Name your favorite season.
  • Spring
11. What is your favorite article of clothing that you own?
  • My purple tights :) 

Questions for my nominees: 
  1. What is your favorite Christmas cookie? Can I have your recipe? 
  2. What is a favorite Christmas tradition you have? 
  3. What is your favorite kind genre of music and your favorite band or artist? 
  4. What do you do to relax? 
  5. Are you the person you imagined you would be? Your ideal you?  ( I always had this image of who I would become in my head growing up. I wonder if others have that too)
  6. What do you do to face your worries? 
  7. What is your least favorite holiday, why? 
  8. Where would you love to travel to, why? 
  9. What is your favorite game? 
  10. What is your favorite date night idea with your spouse? 
  11. What is one thing you wish you had right now?

And here are my honored nominees- . 

Joy from JoySilk
Alexis Gopal from Alexis Gopal Jewelry
Angel Ray from Muse Silk Painting
Carolyn Moran from Care More Creations
Josie from Josie's Jericho
Susanah from That Organic Girl 
Gina from Living Real Life
Renee from Coffee, Crafts & Cornfields
Maria from Singing Scarves 
Little Bear's Mom
Mossy Creek Soap

Thanks everyone!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

Made these, and I have to say they are something you MUST make if you like pumpkin. Yummy! Thanks to the Girl Who Ate Everything or this delicious recipe!

Skinny Jean Pains?

Do you wear skinny jeans?
Do they make your back hurt?
Why or why not do you wear them?

I got some jeans the other day and have started also noticing my lower back aching. I thought it surely couldn't be from my jeans. But thought I would google that question. Surprisingly enough there is actually health risks from wearing pants that are too tight. (Mine aren't- don't worry). But the mere idea had never seriously crossed my mind.

What is your opinion?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Recipes

I don't know about the rest of you but we have lots of pumpkin to use. I love this blog and am eager to try her pumpkin recipes. Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe you could share with me? 
cut pumpkin half
A great link (click on the photo) on how to roast a pumpkin-if you didn't know. I usually work up my pumpkin this way before using it or freezing it. Today my kids took all the seeds and gunk out, they loved that job :)

My Purpose

Sometimes we tend to shortchange what we do. As if the job we work isn't the best it could be, as if the place we study isn't the best, as if the clothes we wear aren't the ones we wish they were, as if, as if, as if. As if we were and are never good enough. You have been there, right?

Somehow I had come to the place where I felt as if I needed to be doing more, or working and not just "staying" at home. As if being a mom of three kids ages 4 and under meant I wasn't doing enough. I was dissatisfied. I was confused. I was discontent. Have you been there?

But today I realized I have accepted my life, my calling, my purpose. Right now my best job is raising my children. Right now my best teaching position is teaching my four year old and two year old preschool. Right now I am EXACTLY where I need to be.

As as this realization sunk in I felt at peace. For I realized that somehow peace had come and worked its way into the cracks of discontent in my heart and showed me a greater purpose. I realized I had set aside the expectations of others in my life and in this culture. I realized that somehow God has brought understanding to my heart as to the more important things in life.

And every day as I teach my 4 year old with our preschool materials and see him learning sounds, letters and numbers I smile. Everyday as he sounds at new words and his shaky little hand becomes more steady in forming letters and numbers I realize I am laying a foundation. Right now I have no higher purpose than that of teaching my children to love and know their Creator, and to learn to live in this world. Right now I find my greatest joys in seeing them learn to speak, write and understand our great English language. Right now I laugh with joy as I see them learn songs, rhymes and games and know that no one else can do this job as well as me.

This is my purpose. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Fluttering Heart

Yesterday my husband came home sick, he went to bed and several hours later fainted in the bathroom. I called the equivalent of 911, and he was taken to the hospital. He is still there today, having tests done and getting fluids by IV.

I realized some things as I was handed responsibility for a night, not knowing what was the matter or what to expect. My 3 small kids tucked into their beds clueless that their daddy had been whisked away. I realized how much I lean on my husband for stability.

He is so patient, strong, gentle and calm. He is like the pillars in our home, standing firm and strong. I am like a tile roof and as the our family's pillars were shaken I felt my tiles beginning to quiver and slide.

I thank God that He understands and that He is my strong foundation.

As I try to read God's word I cannot concentrate for more than a few minutes. My heart, mind and thoughts are continually flying off to be with my love.

I thank God that He understands and doesn't condemn me for my weaknesses.

I am like a butterfly swooping into to settle on the flower of truth God is extending me. And as I read in Philippians 4 to rejoice, and not be anxious my heart is calmed and I flutter on. I know that soon again I will need the nectar of truth that only He can give and will go back to His Word and He will never cease to feed my thirst after Him and His truth.

Autumn People- DIY Acorn Figures Tutorial

You will need:

  • Acorns, buckeyes
  • Toothpicks or wooden matches
  • Hot glue gun
  • Permanent marker
  • Something to poke holes with, like an ice pick, or knitting needle
What to do:
  • Decide what creature you are making: an ant, spider, acorn person, bird, sheep, Winnie The Pooh,  etc. 
  • Decide where you need to make holes and poke a hole in correct area. 
  • Insert toothpick or match. 
  • Continue poking holes and inserting sticks to make your desired creature. 
  • Draw eyes
  • Glue on other details. 

 Make up a story and enjoy your funny, eco-friendly Autumn creatures. Our 4 year old loved gathering the acorns, and buckeyes and making these with Daddy. 

 This is Ziluks, the main character from one very cute cartoon over here in Latvia. My husband says they made these cute people and animals in school when he was a boy in the Soviet Times.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

When I First Held My Child- A Writing Prompt

I have been waiting for a writing prompt from Ellen that I felt I wanted to make the time to write about and this one was just for me. Here is the link to her post.

Two nights were spent in sleeplessness and the hours stretched on and on with ever increasing pain and contractions. I felt I would break in two as my baby born down within me. I had been told I would want to push, I never did. On the other hand I wanted to fight the contractions that kept pushing this baby out of me and keep him in and the pain away. Labor is something uncontrollable, something we cannot fight against. After a very long labor and a long pushing time I finally pushed out the baby who made me a Mother. Our firstborn was tiny, 5 lbs. 7 oz., this baby with it's precious squeaks like a tiny mouse was placed in my arms and I was finally rewarded the prize of my pains. Born in our bedroom with the assistance of our wonderful midwife, in peace and gentle sunshine. It was I who made the announcement to my husband, "You have a son."

I was afraid of pain going into this second labor. Yes, I knew what to expect having done it before. Yes, I knew I could do it, but still I dreaded the feeling of breaking in two. Another long labor, yet calmer, slower, perhaps even longer than the first. This baby would not come down for the longest time, finally when I lied down for a rest from my pacing  my waters broke with an explosion. In an hour or so this baby pushed its way from my protesting body. My husband said to me, "Your dream has come true. We have a daughter, Amelija is born." And my cherub baby so plump and pink was laid on my chest protesting and whining as she met this world.

The third time is said to be a charm, right? I was determined that this time I would be prepared for labor. I was determined that something had to change. I was determined that if some women can have their babies without pain that I can surely have my baby with less pain. I did all kinds of birth art and reading to prepare me for the task ahead. I decided that rather than having my 3rd baby at home I would go to a birthing house and try giving birth in water.

The birthing house was so homey, quiet, still and welcoming. I was already 7 cm along when we arrived and that surprised me. As soon as the tub was ready I got in and enjoyed floating light as a feather with the soundtrack of pond sounds in the background.  I felt like I was swimming in a pond when I closed my eyes.

My midwife soon told me our baby was ready to come out, it will only take 3 pushes and you can have him out. "Yeah right, I thought. I haven't even begun to feel the burning and bearing down. I must have lots of time to wait still." Two or so hours passed with her encouraging me to push and me trying to resist my bodies urges. I groaned, screamed and finally decided my throat hurt from all that noise. My husband had run down to get me a drink and I decided I was going to push and just try to push this baby out like she had been telling me to do. 3-5 min. later and our baby was out, he was placed on my chest, slippery, and with quiet protests. I talked to him gently, calming him with my voice as he voiced his displeasure at how tightly the cord had been around his neck and how long I had refused to let him out.  I was shocked, I was happy, I was excited. "Wow, where was the pain I feared so much?" I felt on cloud nine as I held my darling boy in my arms, my baby of peace.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Don't Lead Your Man

Interesting how our hidden tendencies to lead, boss and command come out on the dance floor. 

I consider myself a wife who lets my husband be the man in the house and be the boss. But as we learn to dance together it is becoming apparent that I like to try to lead and rush my husband forward and hurry him along at MY pace. 

If your men think  you are a bit too domineering they ought to take you dancing. It is a fun way to led him lead and reexamine your positions at home and on the dance floor. 

There cannot be two leaders in a dance- the beauty of the dance is in submitting to the lead of your man and letting him guide you, swing you and twirl you across the floor. Could it not be the same in our lives? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Good Pediatrician- Top 10

As a Mom of 3 little ones I have come to some conclusions about what separates an ideal pediatrician from a mediocre one. And as a Mom raising my kids in a foreign country I highly value a doctor I can trust. Here is my top 10 list in describing a good pediatrician.

  1. Has a Way with Kids.
    • Anyone can be a pediatrician- but not all pediatricians are good with kids. To me a kid's doctor MUST know how to understand a kid. Our doctor waits on the child to be ready for her touch him/her. Taking the time for the child to become accustomed to her and talking to the child and parent. If the child senses that this doctor is someone who cares about them and can feel that their parent trusts the doctor the child will also feel more at ease. 
  2. Respects the Parent's Fears, Opinions and Choices
    • Having read a lot about vaccines I was not willing to vaccinate according to the government plan. Our first pediatrician gave us a rather hard time about this and I am continually meeting up with doctors who just "don't get it" when it comes to understanding the parent's concerns on this matter. Thankfully the doctor we now have not only respects our opinion, but even supports it! A good doctor is worth searching around for. 
  3. Doesn't Act Like a Know it All
    • You know the feeling you get when you see a doctor is huffy, proud and impossible to talk to. A pediatrician MUST be approachable. Parents need someone they can talk to and ask questions to about their concerns for their child's health. A doctor who scares away questions by their attitude is not the doctor you are looking for. 
  4. Child over Schedule: 
    • A good doctor is willing to set aside the planned vaccine or procedure if they see the child isn't as healthy as they should be. The child's well being is more important than rushing it and a vaccine can wait a week, a month, even more so that the child can be 100% healthy.
  5. Follows Up: 
    • A good doctor in this country ( I don't know about in the US) is concerned enough about the child that they will call you at home to make sure the child is doing alright.
  6. Home Visits: 
    • Here in Latvia all doctors can be expected to pay home visits. If a child is too sick to go to school why should they be going to a public waiting room. I am so thankful for the willingness of doctors to pay home visits in Latvia.
  7. What's Best for the Child. 
    • A good pediatrician will try no matter what to get every child healthy, even if it means inconvenience to the parents. Staying home from kindergarten, hiring a babysitter, and helping kids skip the sick season is ok- if it means health for the child. Encouraging parents to skip vaccines, or wait for another day or see a specialist. A good pediatrician knows their stuff and does it well.
  8. Child Friendly Environment: 
    • The doctor's office, not just their waiting room should make a child feel welcome. Our doctor has toys in her office that make my kids happy to go there. There are cars, and other toys that make them look forward to entering her office. 
  9. Employs Good Nurses: 
    • A good doctor's entire reputation can be tainted by a poor nurse. A nurse should be just as child centered as the doctor so that the first impressions and the details which are taken care of by the nurse are not a torture to the child. A good nurse is positive and knows how to talk to the child to help set them at ease. 
  10. Attitude: 
    • The first time I met our current pediatrician I knew she was a special doctor- she was down to earth, easy to talk to and willing to consider both my child's feelings and mine. Since the day we started seeing her I have been happy and every time my child is sick I rejoice that we have such a great doctor who REALLY cares about my kids and will call me day after day to make sure they are on the mend. A good doctor shows it by who they are not just in the office but even during their off hours. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Walking on Air

Lately it seems so many fun, new things have been happening. Yesterday was no exception and I picked up our nanny in the morning and headed to Riga- the capital of LV.

One thing to note about our nanny is that she is no longer JUST our nanny- she will also in the next year  become my sister-in-law. I am so excited my brother chose the sweetest girl I could imagine- but so bummed to lose the best nanny anyone could ever hope to find. Congratulations you two!

I had plans for the later afternoon, but we had decided to go on her first search for a wedding dress. It was so much fun seeing her try on about 10 dresses and discover her style. I also realized it was the first time I have ever had the privilege of going wedding dress shopping with anyone- other than for my own dress. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and K-boy was such an angel and so patient. (He is 5 mos. old now and such a happy little man).

We had a lovely lunch at an Italian place and then I rushed off for my silk painting lesson. I paint nearly every day and by now painting is second nature to me. However, I have never had a lesson from a professional and am wanting to begin painting with dyes rather than paints. So I had scheduled a lesson with a professional silk artist. Besides we can always learn something new, right?

I so loved all the little tips I gleaned yesterday, some were so simple but things I just didn't know. Other things were totally new and I got to try my hand at batik style painting with wax on the silk. I went away from my class super excited and so eager to try new things and pass on the knowledge I already have from 6 years of silk painting already. I feel like I am now taking my painting to the next level and it was invigorating.

This week I learned how to dance the waltz and had a wonderful silk lesson and I am super excited. I realized I love learning new things.

I am also thrilled about how plans are coming together for my silk classes which I will be teaching while we are in the States. My schedule is starting to fill up and these beginner classes are going to be so much fun. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meal Ideas

A good friend asked me what we eat our house and I thought I would share a list of our favorite meals. Of course I'm always trying new recipes, but these are meals that we eat monthly. If you are interested in recipes, just drop me a note and tell me which recipe you need.  I have divided them into divisions of the method of cooking- which is how I plan when I am in a hurry.

We typically eat a soup with sandwiches, or a main dish with salad. We try to include a salad or boiled vegetable every meal, but usually go more for salads. Our dessert list is too numerous to list- as that is my speciality around here.

  • salmon soup
  • chili
  • frikadele soup ( A Latvian soup with small meatballs)
  • beef soup
Oven Baked:
  • Honey glazed chicken
  • Lasagna
  • Chicken baked with potatoes
  • Fish and oven baked potatoes (these potatoes are our healthy version of fries)
  • Pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions
  • Pizza
  • Quiche
Stove Top: (Include a side of buckwheat, potatoes, noodles or rice).
  • Tacos
  • Sushi (boil rice)
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Ginger chicken (Chinese style) with rice. 
  • Latvian pancakes (crepes) with fillings: cheese, ham and cheese, meat, etc. 
  • Cutlets
  • Karbonades (chicken or pork)
  • Greek Salad
  • Ceasar Style salad with grilled chicken
  • Cheese Salad
  • Carrot Salad
  • Beet Salad
  • Cabbage salad with oil 
  • Cole Slaw
  • Cheese salad

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sensory Play Mat

I just recently finished this play mat for our goddaughter. It was so much fun planning on the various blocks to get the differnt sensory experiences.

Friendly spider with bells on toes :)

Fuzzy hedgehog

Shapes & Touch (Feel and move the shapes through the sheer fabric)


Chickens &  feathers

Zippered Bag with shapes

 Felt kitty

Shimmery Fish

Monday, September 10, 2012

Too Many Cartoons ?

Our four year old loves to watch cartoons. We are very careful in what we show him and his sister, aged 2. We also only let them earn their cartoon privilege by either having taken a nap or having been quiet during nap time.

However, our four year old NEVER seems to have enough. He whines and fusses for more, or cries on the days when he was too noisy to earn his viewing.

We never intended to do so, but somehow it seems we have allowed an addiction to develop.

I was very happy to see the topic of cartoons addressed in the latest number of one of the top parenting magazines in Latvia, "Mans Mazais."

I am going to share with you the Recipe for Cartoon Watching as shared in the magazine, with my translation.

  1. Don't be afraid to control what your child watches. 
  2. 5 min. x the age of the child per day. Ex: A 3 year old can watch 15 min. a day, a 4 year old 20 min. a day. 
  3. Watch cartoons with your child. Ex: You don't have to watch long to see what the main idea is and whether this is a cartoon you approve of.
  4. Balance the real with the fantasy: Ex: After watching cartoons go out and play.
  5. If you see violence turn it off. 
  6. Don't create an addiction: Ex: In trying to be "good" parents we let our kids watch cartoons because they want to-but we are unintentionally creating a addiction by letting them watch too often or too much. 
So what is your opinion?

Which cartoons do you let your toddlers, ages 2-5 watch? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pretty Little Liars

So the last weeks have brought some exciting news for my shop and scarves. One of my scarves is on its way to the stylist of Pretty Little Liars. Thanks to the Artisan Group for the opportunity of exposing my art to the world.

If she likes it it might just end up on their show one day. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

How God Speaks

Recently my brother posed the question, "Does God speak?"

Since I know that God does speak I guess to me the question is, "How does God speak?"

As I thought more about this and the various ways we each let God lead in our lives I came to this idea of conclusion.

Could it be that God is as active in guiding our choices as we let Him be?

One person believes God has given him the wisdom to make wise choices and as he seeks to please God he believes that God has so guided his choices.

Another person is continually going to God in prayer throughout their day- trusting every little worry and concern to Him.

God leads both persons, but in different ways. In the ways that person has let Him do so- in the way that person needs.

What do you say, how does God lead you?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Last night I heard about the death of a four year old . I didn't know her personally. Though we all know her daddy here. I was shocked, stunned and moved to tears. 

I stood in my children's bedroom and thanked God for every moment he gives me with them. I thought about what I want out of my life and the mom I want to be. 

Today I heard that little girl had choked on an apple, and then seemed fine. I guess the apple came out. She then went on to play and collapsed. 

How quickly she was gone isn't important. But a life, a precious child was snatched from her parents in a matter of minutes. 

I was stunned. I reeled. I cried. 

That could have been my four year old. 

Children are always choking, that is a part of life. 

No apples, no dangerous food I thought, EVER!

That is not the answer, I cannot protect my children from everything. 

Life, these precious lives God has entrusted to us.

Treasure every moment, live a focused life on the things that matter.

 Life is a gift,
 a precious
fragile gift.

This post is the way I heard the story, I do not know the actual facts. 
This evening I found the testimony of the Daddy who is mentioned in this post.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Nia Peeples

 So excited to share with you the scarf I gifted Nia Peeples. I am part of a group called The Artisan Group. And through them we have the opportunity to gift celebrities. Here on the tweets she posted last night.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Honey is sweet, but the bee stings!

Today as we were enjoying a lovely walk home with my kids after church we stopped at a couple playgrounds along our route.

My husband had stayed at church for a meeting. It was a lovely late summer afternoon- the evenings are already so chilly here and we are basking in the last rays of a summer sun.

As we were getting ready to leave the playground something bit/stung me on the leg, under my skirt. I gave a few quiet hoots of pain, what can one do when there are huge apartment buildings on every side? I couldn't exactly lift my skirt up and see what bit me now, could I? I lifted my skirt a bit on one side and shook it hoping to dislodge whatever had caught in my skirt.

I had seen a yellow jacket buzzing about me and even on my skirt, I had assumed he had flown away.

A few more steps and an even more painful sting on the back of my other upper leg left me howling (under my breath) so as not to scare my kids are be thought of as a weirdo. I dashed behind the nearest bushes, just to the right of the drive and between the huge apartments- hoping no one was looking. Then I lifted my skirt as high as I dared and away flew my torturer.

Man, oh man do bee stings hurt. I was at a loss as to know what to do. Here I was with 3 small children, yelping in pain. Should I call my husband out of his meeting? Should I run to the nearest pharmacy and get something to put on it to take away the pain? But how would I get up the stairs with the buggy. Then, my mom's old method came to mind, baking soda mixed with water makes a fantastic paste for bee stings- we always used that as kids. We dashed to the nearest grocery store and got some baking soda. I was praying God would ease the pain.

By the time we checked out and had made it to the nearest cafe I was able to tolerate the pain. Whew, that was an adventure I hope never to repeat!

Have you ever had a bee under your skirt?! I hope you never do!

Friday, August 10, 2012

He Answers Prayer

Sometimes it is easy to think God isn't listening as well as we would like or He isn't answering the way we would like. It is easy to get so caught up in our lives that we fail to see how He is working. And then there are the times we pray and He answers, and we realize maybe we hadn't really wanted that certain thing to REALLY happen. Sometimes I think we fail to think of all the details of what our answered prayers would mean.

Lately I have seen God answering prayers at a really fast pace in our lives and it is so amazing. But yet hard to accept at times.

  1.  Visit to my Homeland: After my parents returned to the US after their short visit here in May I was really worried and concerned as to when our family is ever going to pay another visit to my homeland. We now number 5 and tickets are so expensive. I was praying and worrying about this alot and even praying that someday we could pay a longer visit to America so my husband could learn more about the culture I grew up in. The Answer: My parents offered to pay 2/3 of our ticket price to America. So after much searching of good prices we will get to pay a visit to my parents. Yay, God! 
  2. Allergy:  My 2 year old has had a rash on her hands for the last year- we have been at a loss to understand what she was allergic too. The Answer: We finally discovered that she is allergic to strawberries. What a relief to finally know the source of her allergy.
  3. Coal: We heat our house with coal and are in need of a new supply for this winter. My husband told me it is going to cost about $1000.00. Yikes, we need to pay back that much to my Dad by next year. How are we going to afford it?! The Answer: My husband had put an ad out as he does every year that he is looking for coal (sometimes people switch their heating method and don't need their supply). He hadn't gotten any calls, but today someone called and said he can have their coal for free as long as he can come and get if off their hands! It may not be enough, but it is a start. 
  4. Luggage Rack: My husband had lost one side of his luggage rack on his work vehicle and was searching for a replacement- which would have cost $100.00. He was bummed to have somehow lost the left side rack without having even realized it. The Answer: Today an acquaintance called my husband and said he had the missing rack and that it had fallen off in front of his house and he had watched my husband drive past and realized it belonged to him since he was missing one side! Yay, God.
  5. Secret: I have a huge answer to prayer, but since this one is not my news I will save it for another time until the new comes out more publicly. Suffice it to say God is doing great things in my brother's life! 

It is amazing to see the handiwork of our Father in our lives. What is He doing in your life?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

School Time

As the approach of the new school year shines ahead of us I am eagerly beginning to choose some supplies for D-boy. I have always loved new crayons, pencils and notebooks and choosing ones I know he will like is so much fun.

This will be the first "real" school year for D-boy. He is four now and we have decided I will start him with the preschool material "Little Hands to Heaven." I am so excited to begin teaching him. He has been showing more of an interest in letters lately and loves watching one kids film called "The Letter Factory." He has been learning some of the sounds by doing this.

Wishing you all a happy beginning of the school year.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What If ? 3 Steps to Face YOUR Fears

In this dark and scary world I find myself at times overwhelmed with, "What ifs?"

I was shocked and saddened with the world at the deaths in Colorado- in a seemingly safe place- a theatre. 

I woke early the next morning with scary dreams of being chased down and trying to keep my children quiet in hiding, an impossible task with toddlers. I found myself gripped with fear and a million what ifs
  • What if my son were to grow up to commit such a crime? 
  • What if I am not raising my children properly? 
  • What if we go somewhere and get shot today? 
  • What if the forest is full of hidden gun men?(as we were out gathering mushrooms)
Every what if squeezed joy and life from my frame. 

But then I remembered what I had read just the day before in the book that God has placed in my life just when I need it most. "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow. I had just read a chapter on facing the what ifs in our lives.

She had shared what one young man had done to face his fears and his what ifs in three steps: (pg. 163-Calm my Anxious Heart)
  1. Ask yourself what is the worst that can possibly happen? 
  2. Prepare to accept it if you have to.
  3. Then calmly proceed to improve on the worst.
The truth is that worrying never improves anything. The truth is that there is One greater than all my worries and He is the only one capable of changing anything. When I worry I am not trusting Him. 

Thinking within the perspective of those 3 steps guides me to be the person I ought to be today. 

My worst fear and greatest WHAT IF in raising my children would be for them to turn their backs on their Creator and for them to commit some hideous crime like the one in Aurora. 

However, I cannot know what their future holds. I could raise them perfectly in every way and pray for them night and day-BUT I cannot control them or force them to have a personal relationship with Jesus. It has to be their choice-their transformation. The truth remains that I must accept the decisions they will make- while guiding them now in a straight path. 

That is the conclusion- I MUST be present in their lives, loving on them, praying for them, training and guiding them to be the people they will become and in doing all this I am doing ALL that I can to prevent and improve upon the worst. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summertime = Berry Time

The berry season is in full swing here in Latvia and we are putting up some of everything.

We worked about about 24 kilogram of strawberries, made some jam, dried some and froze the rest. I love slicing them with sugar and freezing them. We also froze some blended up that are wonderful with pancakes or ice cream.

About that same time we had cherry time- we have 2 huge sweet cherry trees and this year they were loaded. We dried a lot of them- they are great in granola- I make our own and we love it! Made some jam and invited lots of friends to come and pick cherries.

This week we have worked up a different berry every day.

Black currants are very popular here and so healthy. We got 10 kilograms of these.  We steamed some of them in our juicer steamer. The juice concentrate is great when the kids are sick. We also made jam.

Red currants- we again made juice concentrate.

Today we went raspberry picking and picked 6+ kg. We made some jam and froze some.

I love having all of these to eat in winter. It is a ton of work now and a bit chaotic with three kids. I sometimes feel I have a circus at home. Needless to say not much is happening in the silk shop at present.

Oh well.

What are you doing this summer?

Friday, July 13, 2012

The End of Me

It's another one of those days when nothing gets done and no one naps. When Mom is fed up to her ears in noise, toys and squished blueberries.

The kids are worn out from long summer evenings. My toddler has a snotty nose and she is crabbier than any two year old has a right to be. The baby is an angel and naps like a dream. But yet nothing seems to get done.

I feel I run circles wiping up messes, putting toys back, trying to harvest our bounty from the garden, keep meals on the table and keep my head afloat. It is no wonder I caught a cold.

I find myself at times stepping aside and looking at my life through the eyes of another me. One who can see things from the side and in perspective rather than in the frenzy of the moment.

I desire peace. I desire greater love. I desire to be an ideal Mommy and a great wife. 

Yet I run around grouchy, feelings of guilt crowding out my joy at all the unfinished and half accomplished tasks of my daily life.

It is quiet moments when I look at my life that I realize that what I am doing NOW is the life I am to live. My purpose and joy needs to come from doing a job well done in the little tasks I do every day.

The ME screams out that I am getting nothing done, that I must pursue MY business and write MY  stories. That I must have time for ME and MY hobbies and MY desires.

But these little persons in my care are in fact very needy folks. They are the ones I must give MYSELF to now. If I have everything in this life and yet my little people were to go down the wrong path in life I would always regret not having given more of me.

It is I who can influence them now and lay the foundations for a solid future. It is my husband and I who must teach them values and discipline and strength of character. It is I who must teach them when to lend a kind hand and when to be firm.

Only when I set aside the selfish ME am I able to be the person I was intended to be just now. The invisible Mommy. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

When Things Don't Work

Today I had to bake a cake. I had a cake order for a cake for 50+ people.
 Chocolate cake, layers of cherry filling, white chocolate buttercream and marzipan smoothed over it all. 
Sounds lovely doesn't it? 

The day seemed to be looking good when I woke up before my 3 kids and my husband was to work second shift. 

My 2 year old nearly always wakes up crabby and clingy. Today was no exception. Neither of my toddlers would eat breakfast and my baby was fussy. 

By 9 a.m it was already 86 degrees- the hottest day we have had this summer- not a good day for decorating a cake. 

I finally got my two year old dressed in her swimsuit-nothing else will do for her. I decided just to let her have her nuk sippie cup/bottle. I try not to give it to her- she is already 2 years and 2 months old. BUT today I needed anything to keep her happy and quiet. 

I had my first layers of the cake baking. My 4 year old was working outside with Daddy. My 2 year old was playing with baby toys and things were looking up. WHEN, my two 2 year old fell on the step outside and scraped her leg. It was nasty- about 3-4 inches long and 2 inches wide. GREAT! We used all the band aids in the house (remember to write those on the list) on it- 2 normal size ones, 2 little ones, and a round one. Whew, good thing she thinks band aids make everything better. 

She kept taking little rests on the bed. I kept filling her bottle on request and she kept guzzling milk. I kept reminding myself tomorrow we can do things more normally. I just HAVE to get this cake done. By noon she had drank at least 4 bottles and was running to the potty all the time- thankfully no accidents while indoors. But still this makes a lot of interruptions for mom. 

Here I am trying to bake cakes, keep the laundry going (gotta make use of the sunshine), get my baby to sleep and keep my toddlers happy and out of the way. 

Snacks, today we used lots of those! Prayers, lots said too. Praises, keep everyone optimistic with lots of good words. 

At 11 a.m. my husband had to leave for work. By this time I was feeling ready to pull my hair out. My babysitter is on vacation and I had no one to ask to help me with the kids so I could work on the cake.

No one, except God.  Good thing he never walks out on us! I realized what my husband COULD do since he couldn't be at home. I told him he could bring home lunch so I would not have to stop baking to cook (he eats at home everyday). 

Things starting calming down about noon and my baby was dozing. By 12:30 I had the cake baked and the kids were nicely playing. About 13:00 I made the cherry filling for the cake and started on the buttercream. 

I was so happy when my husband did indeed bring home lunch. Wow, good man, thanks! We had a lovely lunch and I was able to get the kids to bed pretty easily. Thanks, LORD! 

The afternoon went more smoothly and I was happy to be ready to roll the marzipan by early afternoon. 

Marzipan is fun to work with is small quanities- but it is hard to put over a cake and make perfect. I took it off the 10 inch cake 3 times. I got sooooooooooooooooo frustrated and hot that finally I had to go and take a dip in the kiddie pool. 

Somewhere in the middle of the afternoon we had a huge storm. My four year old was saying, "Please rain go away." Cute, I let him come downstairs since he wasn't sleeping. We watched the storm- until it got REALLY windy here and the rain and wind were blowing horizontally. Scary! We were both so happy when it passed. 

A few more trials and problems and the cake was finished.Whew, what a relief!

I hope they liked it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ti Mo

Last week my sister-in-law gave me the opportunity to get some of these fabulous designer's clothes. She has some of last years collection she has been selling and was offering them at ridiculously cheap prices. 

I am so in love with her style. I love the combination of feminine, and comfortable and other pieces that are OH so elegant. 

Here is her website.

And some views of last years collections. 

One of the things I got was the cardigan seen in this photo. Is is so lovely and has a floral design on the sleeves. 

I couldn't find photos of all the items I bought. But suffice it so say they are lovely. 

I love this blouse of theirs from this years collection. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Mommy Day

It all began with a need to have some quiet, me time. 

I decided to go to Riga (the capital of Latvia) and get a few things for the cake I need to make this weekend.  

First I went to a supply store I had never been to. I was shocked and elated at the huge selection of food supplies, cake supplies and all kinds of other things for restaurants. This was the first store I have seen with a selection like I am accustomed to in the States. Needless to say I am elated to have finally found a store with most everything a baker and cake decorator could desire :) 

One of my finds was a rose mold very similar to this one. I have a lot of marzipan to work with and roses to make for the cake. Forming each one by hand is time consuming and so I decided to give this mold a try. I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy it is to use! Yay! 

Next I headed into Old Riga- I love the old historic part of Riga that is over 800 years old and packed with history. It is fun to roam the cobblestone streets and watch the tourists and check out the cute shops. However, I had other things on my agenda and the first was to see if one souvenir shop -the biggest chain in Riga- would take my silk scarves on consignment. We had a very nice visit and they would have gladly taken them- but I didn't have the right documents along and I am not sure I am willing to sell them for so little. They would pay me $30-$40.00 and sell them for twice that much. I was much encouraged to know though that they liked them. They were especially charmed by the silk hat.

After this I went to the Decorative Art Museum where there was an exhibition of Victorian Dresses. I loved taking in the details, colors and patterns. It was inspiring. I was amazed at the beading on many of the dresses and imagined the many hours those young women put into one ball gown. Wow! I wish I had some gorgeous dresses like those. I was thinking if I did have such beautiful gowns my job would be to wear them and just look beautiful. I wouldn't be able to work in the garden or cook. (LOL). Then I was reminded of the verse in the Bible about beauty coming from the inside, not by adornments. 

After this I was famished and in a hurry to keep running my many errands on my list. I was trying to find a fast, cheap place to grab a bite. I happened upon a cute French cafe. I ordered a croissant with cheese and ham, a bottle of blueberry juice and a macaron. 
 French Macarons - 24 Assorted French Macaron Box

The croissant was warmed and was flaky, light and simply scrumptious. Every bite seemed to melt in my mouth- wow- I must have been hungry! 

The blueberry juice was simply refreshing!

But the macaron-my first ever macaron! Now, that was love at first bite! I had ordered a pistachio one and W-O-W! If you have never had a macaron I would say there is no possible way of adequately describing one. But I shall try: 
almondy doughiness, 
creamy pistachio frosting, 
nestled between light, 
purely delightful,
melt in your mouth flavors

Need I say more? 

After my wonderful lunch I was ready to conquer the rest of my shopping. But it was during this leisurely day that I realized something. 

Every Mommy needs a day to have an adventure. This day was for me a time to do something different than my everyday life. I love my kids,  I love my life. But I need peace and quiet now and then. I need a time to do something that makes my heart pound- like pushing my business in a new direction. I need time to think and pray- like quiet time walking and driving. I need time to enjoy something new-like new cafes and new tastes. I feel totally refreshed after a day like yesterday. 

We Mamas are hard-worked and need to make time, once a week, once a month or at least sometimes to have an adventure, a retreat or a hair-cut! Whatever makes us feel refreshed! 

Today I was able to start my day with a renewed enthusiasm and joy.

Etsy Finds Feature

Yesterday my peacock hat was featured in Etsy finds. Yay! To see it scroll down to the bottom row. 

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