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:
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:


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:

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.