Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Count it All Joy

That must be one of the hardest directives in scripture -- to count it all joy when you fall into various trials( or when ye fall into various temptations, for ye preferrers of ye King James version).

Two Sundays ago, James 1 was the focus both of my Sunday School class (taught by my favorite SS teacher) and our Sunday evening worship service. This whetted my appetite to read James, which I have not in quite awhile.

I first turned to James in my Chronological Bible (I have to look it up in the index - I don't quite know whether James falls in October or November :) Then yesterday, I pulled out my KJV Bible, the little white one "presented" to me by "Mama and Daddy" my 7th Christmas. It felt good to read the old language.

That counting it all joy thing is hard to live out, isn't it? (As they say, 'Easy preachin' - hard livin'). It takes some faith to stand and say, 'That which is happening to me is a good thing, or, at least, it is for my good.' (Romans 8:28)

This post by John Piper regarding his diagnosis of cancer expresses so well what protections we enjoy - not protection from bad things, but salvation, and the assurance that all those things that follow in James 1 - patience, proven character, those sorts of things - are the intended results of these trials.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Graph Paper and Chuck Close-style Art.

Here is Earthgirl's Chuck Close style portrait of her cousin. This snapshot (see post just previous to this) is perfect for the project.

I used a Graph Paper Generator to make 1/2-inch squares paper.

I've used this website before, but today I also grabbed some axonomic, circular, and hexagonal versions for future graphic projects. I LOVE graph paper! We always needed 2 or 3 different types available for some of our engineering classes. Even now, I have my very own graph paper pad tucked away in my stationery desk.

I used to get stationery and stationary spellings mixed up. I guess as long as your stationery desk stays still, it can be a stationary stationery desk.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

picnikking again

I was playing with a picture of our niece that I snapped on vacation, and thought I'd share a few results. It was such fun working with this very imperfect photo - the original is blurry, but I liked the simple graphic quality - oooo - just realized this would make a great art project for Earthgirl - maybe I'll update this later. (How's that for a run-on sentence?) I used

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jamin's Crutches

Just on case you missed it...

Jamin's post on
Crutches today was so good that I just have to link to it.

More on Being an Ag Engineer

I am responding to Science Geek's previous comment with a whole 'nother mini-post. She asked if I was seriously an agricultural engineer - probably with better grammar than that :)

I'm not very serious. And not a very good engineer. But, seriously, yes, I am an agricultural engineer. As a Georgia Ag Engineer, I am dated by that designation - now they are "Agricutural and Environmental Engineers," which makes sense. All the engineering-type work I have done has been more environmental than agricultural. GO DAWGS! (info for the Sports fans in my readership, which may be only Pluto Boy, -- we were at University of Georgia at the same time as Hershel Walker and Dominique Wilkins)

Now a little girl who wants to peruse the art projects websites is breathing down my neck.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Agricultural Engineer

That's what I am. Really. So is Pluto Boy. So though my days right now mostly flow toward home and homeschooling, crafts, - that sort of thing, now and again PB and I have a conversation that is right geeky. He came home one day with this little booklet for some material being used on an engineering project that involved him in his role in city government. He was excited about it. I was, at the time, distracted with, oh, maybe refereeing a couple of little girls, making the spaghetti - that sort of thing - and didn't pay it much attention.

But this morning at 6, I kissed him bye-bye and took up this booklet and idly flipped through it, and ... the geek in me kicked in. No, I didn't read it cover to cover, but my heart kind of thrilled to the idea of a "design hydrologic event" and diagrams with arrows.

I mean, only an engineer, albeit one only practicing occasionally, can label a post like this "Just for Fun."

Lately, my posts have been rather quick and light. I have a couple of deeper posts in the works, and I look forward to sharing them. Later. Maybe much later. I should join that Procrastinator Posse.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wash Day

Warning: photographs of a laundry appliance below.

These days, I just walk right past the laundry detergent aisle.

I don't even check the laundry detergent coupons.

Yes, I've become one of those Homeschoolin' Mamas who stays at home (most of the time), makes my own bread (some of the time), makes my own clothes (at least some of them), AND the laundry detergent I use to launder them. Pretty domesticated, huh?

It's been a long while coming. When I ordered Fels Naptha laundry soap from Soaps Gone Buy, I read the recipes. I saw write-ups in magazines, on blogs...I knew that one of these days I'd make my own detergent. I read up on making the liquid detergent, and figured I will probably never make that kind. A few weeks ago, I took the plunge with the easiest recipe I've seen, the one from Southern Plate, and we are happy with the results thus far. I mix it up a little at a time (we are a pretty small family, and store it in a soup container from our favorite Chinese food take-out place. {I'm not so domesticated that I can't appreciate good take-out Chinese food. I grew up in the country, and I enjoy a few in-town conveniences}

I was delighted to find all 3 ingredients, including two kinds of laundry soap, stocked on my local Publix supermarket laundry aisle. I guess this trend is catching on. When you use this detergent, it does not make suds, but the clothes are clean.

Here's the method I use:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 cup grated laundry soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Borax

Mix together. Use 1/8 cup per load.

The initial batch I made up using the partial bar of Fels Naptha I had. It had been laying open for a long while, and grated up very fine.

The second batch contains some gratings of Fels Naptha and some gratings of Zote soap. Those new bars did not grate into powder, but into sticky shavings, and I have to mix it a little each time I dip it out. Currently, I have the rest of those two bars open in hopes they will season up and grate more finely next time.

A couple of notes:

1) You are supposed to use washing soda, not regular baking soda (I have no idea what the difference is), but when I checked at Walmart, I saw they had stocked large boxes of regular baking soda next to the Borax.

2) I like the smell of the Fels Naptha better than the Zote, though I like both. I understand you can use Ivory soap, too.

3) I don't know how well this works for those with sensitive skin, but I gave a few loads-worth to my SIL, who is married to Mr. Sensitive, and hope to report back on that soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Just a couple of weeks ago, an old friend reconnected with me via Facebook. We were 5th graders together, the only school year we shared, then we were penpals for several more years before we just sort of drifted into no letters. I am tickled to be back in touch, and we have had a lively week (before we both went on vacation) of messages back and forth, admiring pictures, comparing notes, just catching up.

Here we are as 5th-graders

In the course of this big-time correspondence with a fellow SW Georgia girl, I find myself greeting friends with a, "Hey!" In the portion of south Georgia I call home, "Hey" is more often heard than "Hi, " "Hello," or "Whazzup?" It's not a "Hey YOU!"; it's a hello. After a week with my wonderful Georgia-girl sis-in-law, the Southernism is compounded. So don't be surprised if you say Hi and I say Hey.

And to those who might tease, "Hay is for horses," I say "Nay," Hey is not hay, as neigh is not nay.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What do I really miss?

Today I left my purse-and-phone at home, so I have opportunity to ponder what I really miss.

I am babysitting today (well, childcare - he's not a baby anymore), and have just been paid, so I have some cash in hand. As long as I don't drive erratically or have an accident caused by someone else driving erratically, I don't anticipate needing identification. There is a Kleenex box in the car. The other little thingies stuffed in my small purse (I am a small -purse woman) are mostly just-in-case things.So what is it that I say, "oh, no - a whole day without..."?

The answer: Cellphone and Chapstick. Those seem to be my basics.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Visit to the Conch Republic

Cousins stand on the last rock, just before you fall off the United States. Cuba is 90 miles to their right.

The Florida Keys stretch like a string of pearls off the tip of Florida. Once you leave the mainland, it is a 150-mile drive on the Overseas Highway, US 1, to Key West, Mile Marker 0, and the Southernmost point of the continental United States. When you stand on that Southernmost point, you are closer to Havana than to Miami.

Tropical architecture in Key West

The term Key is from the Spanish word cayo, or islet. Key Largo, Upper Matecumbe, Islamorada, Lower Matacumbe, Long Key, Conch Key, Duck Key, Grassy Key, Fat Deer Key, Key Colony, Marathon, Vaca Key, Boot Key, Bahia Honda Key, Big Pine Key, Little Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, Ramrod Key, Summerland Key, Cudjoe Key, Sugarloaf Key, Saddlebunch Key, Big Coppitt Keys, East Rockland Key, Boca Chica Keys, Stock Island, Key West - these are most of the isalnds traversed by US 1 travellers. There are other islands, some not connected by any bridge, with picturesque names, like Half Moon keys, Dredgers Key, Knockemdown Key, and Shark Key.

There are conch shells, homes to the little conch animals, and then there are Conchs, or Key natives. Those Conchs made the news a few years back when they seceded from the union, declaring the Keys to be the Conch Republic.

Southernmost Point Marker - where you make friends with
the German tourists behind you and hand over your camera

We were blessed to have a week at a friend's beautiful house in the lower Keys last week. What a great week it was. One SIL and niece drove 14 hours to join us. Though the sun is intense, it is often cooler in Summer there than in central Florida because of the ocean breezes. We were awakened by the sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico daily, and were in the pool by 7:30. It was one of the most relaxing vacations (not just relaxing - downright lazy!) I have ever had.

Sunrise from the porch

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Scrap Happy

If you sew, you have scraps. Those nice little pieces of fabric, too small to make a top; too big to toss - and there are so many creative minds out there sharing what to do with my scraps!

This is a favorite project - Scrappy Loyalty Card Wallets. The tutorial for these can be found on the sidebar over at A Spoonful of Sugar.

You can't make just one! Maybe they should be called Potato Chip Scrappy Wallets.

Earthgirl needed one for her Homeschool ID and Build-A-Bear card.

When I made one for a friend, Earthgirl so wanted ones for her friends, too. And she even sewed just a little on them. We love the variegated ric rac.

Friday, July 3, 2009


This weekend we celebrate those who came before us and the great land they have built.

On my side, there were those who fought in the Revolution. On my husband's side, there were those who came later and embraced all that these United States offer. This weekend, we will let freedom ring!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Real LIVING Room

The house where I grew up had no playroom - well, no official playroom. What we had was an unfurnished formal living room. By the time I finished high school, it had grown into a pretty much furnished room, but during those earlier years it was a Very Useful Room (sound like a Winnie the Pooh description?)

Our living room held an old upright player piano (missing the player mechanism), a sewing machine, an ironing board, sometimes a quilting frame, a chaise lounge, and, often, a Hot Wheels track set. My brother had a pretty good set of cars and lots of tracks and accessories, and we both enjoyed them. I was reminded of this when I read Crispy's post about the $1 track set. (What a deal!)

The question arises in my mind; if the living room had been furnished, where would the Hot Wheels have run? Where would we have sewn? The answer, of course, is in the corners of the bedrooms. And we would have had to put away the tracks more often. -just wouldn't have been the same.

I wonder whatever happened to that chaise lounge? Today we would call this "eclectic" decor.
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