I Cannot Hide It

I want to tell you how amazing this past year has been.  But to give you the full picture, I feel like I need to start in late 2010.

October 2010:Eric and I decided to start a family

November 2011: We had waited for over a year.  I started to fear that something was wrong.  The church that Eric and I go to has a healing service a few times a year (not the kind where they hit your forehead) and we went up and asked for prayer to get pregnant.  I remember being prayed for by one of the elders of the church.  When I walked back to my seat I felt this real warmth inside of me where a baby would grow.  I didn’t know for sure that I would ever get pregnant, but I knew that God had heard my prayers.

December 2011:  I had a bit of a sad Christmas while struggling with infertility and started to dread 2012.  I feared that it would be as bad or worse than the previous year of waiting.

January 2012: I rung in the New Year feeling really let down and depressed.  I feared the future and what it would hold.  Eric and I went to the doctor’s and discussed a plan for fertility treatment.  Later that month we decided to hold off on fertility testing so that Eric could run for US Congress.   A friend of mine gave me a maternity top.  She felt a little awkward about it, but felt as if God wanted her to give it to me.  I clung to it for months thanking God for not forgetting about me.

April 2012:  On the 24th, the fun and excitement of the campaign came to an end on voting day, and I didn’t have any more distractions to take my mind off of the valley that I was in.  I started to dwell on what felt like a huge hole in my life.  We continued to put fertility testing on hold until Eric found a job.

May 2012:  I started to get really depressed and emotional about not being pregnant.  I begged God to let this phase of life end.  I went to my parent’s house and broke down.  I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore.  I shared my story at the Alpha course at church.

June 2012: I held off on taking a pregnancy test for as long as possible, because I hated seeing the “negative” sign.  Eric urged me to take one.  It was the morning of June 10th that I saw the “positive” sign.  When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it.  Then I just started sobbing.  I was so happy.  So relieved.  The wait was finally over.  When I finally pulled myself together I went in and told Eric.  When we went to our first appointment the nurse told us that she believed the first day of our pregnancy (LMP) was May 1st.  Which means I was probably pregnant when I cried on my parent’s couch about not being pregnant, and I was probably pregnant when I shared my story at Alpha.  I may have even been pregnant on mother’s day.

January 2013:  I am looking forward to 2013!!  What a difference a year can make.  We are expecting our baby in four weeks, and I am so thankful to God for bringing me through and for giving me this amazing gift!  How wrong I was about 2012 being a horrible year.  It was one of the best years I can remember.  If you’re facing 2013 feeling hopeless and depressed, hang in there!  Who knows what this year will hold?  I pray that it will be a great year for you.  The year that the waiting ends.  The year that the sadness fades and hope is restored.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  It hasn’t been my best year of blogging as far as posts, but I’m still pleased to report that the blog is alive and well.  Here’s to an even better new year!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The Leaky Igloo and Other Snow-Globe Making Adventures

You can go to Anthropologie and buy a snow globe for forty dollars.

anthro snow globe

OR you can make one for under $5.  Last year I made snow globes for the first time after finding a tutorial on Pinterest.  This year I stepped it up a notch and experimented with a couple of new materials.

First, here is the cast of characters:

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I went to Michael’s and bought some white polymer clay.  I made little stands for each snow globe so that the animals would be raised up more in the globe.  I baked the clay and let it cool.
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While the clay was baking, I cut some branches off of a faux green wreath that I had.  I trimmed the branches into little trees and painted the tips with white acrylic paint so it would look like snow.

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When the clay stands had cooled, I sealed each stand with a layer of acrylic matte medium.  I’m sure there are other sealers that would have worked even better, but I was just using what I had lying around.  I was hoping that sealing the clay would protect it from the water.  Time will tell!  I used hot glue to attach the animals and trees to the stands.  After making sure that the stands fit inside each jar, I glued the stands to the jar lids…or in this case, the bottom of the jar.  IMG_5661 IMG_5673IMG_5664 IMG_5668For the seal, I painted the white base with black and blue acrylic paint, and glued river rocks to half of the base.  I wanted the other half to look like water, so I make a water-like texture using the hot glue gun.
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At this point, I took a break until the next day to let the hot glue dry thoroughly.

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Now for the liquid!  I used distilled water, glycerin (to make the snow fall a little more slowly), glitter, and some white plastic that I ground up with my cheese grater.  Have I mentioned that I like to use whatever I have lying around?  IMG_5679 IMG_5680

Each jar was filled (almost to the top) with distilled water. Then I added about half a teaspoon of glycerin to each jar.  Then came the glitter and the ground white plastic.  Don’t add too much glitter or it’ll just cover everything at the bottom of the jar when it settles.  Also, using too much glycerin will make the “snow” clumpy and it’ll usually stick to the sides and top of the jar.

When you have a ratio that you like of water, glycerin, and snow, seal the lid onto the jar.  Set the jar lid-up so that the glue can dry.  I used hot glue to seal the jar, but I think in the future I’ll go back to using epoxy.
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After that, I used some twine that I had and wrapped it around the base of the jar and set it in place with hot glue.

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Finally!  Here are the finished products:IMG_5684
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The igloo snow globe was the biggest disappointment because it leaks.  In the future, maybe I’ll just stick to jars with lids that screw on.

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I haven’t decided what to do with these guys yet, but if I don’t sell them or give them away, I might put a couple in the baby’s winter-themed nursery.

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Jade

If you are a regular reader of the blog then you probably have read my recent thoughts on giving, and the painting that I’ve been working on for a special person.  I mailed the painting last week, and now that I know it has been received I feel like I can share the final result with you.  I wanted the recipient to be the first to see it.

Here it is!

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I had to edit the photo a bit, but it’s still not quite what it should be.  The lighting in this photo is a bit off, but you can get the general idea.  I tried to add depth to the painting by keeping the foreground colors brighter with higher contrast.  As you move back into the painting, the colors become a little more dull and there is less detail.  Jade was a beautiful dog and I really enjoyed painting her!

This afternoon I’m heading to the store to pick up some supplies for making snow globes.   ‘Tis the season!

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Let Heaven and Nature Sing

I know that I said I was going to update the blog with a picture of the dog that I started painting, but I decided to hold off until I can tell you the full story behind the piece.  So I’m hoping that I will have an update for you at the beginning of next week.

In the mean time, I’ve decided to follow trend and post a few pictures of my house at Christmas time.  It’s nothing grand, but it’s still fun seeing little touches of the holiday season all around me.

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I saw a few Christmas carol garlands on Pinterest that I thought were cool so I made my own using some leftover paper that I bought for bookmaking.  I love this line because it gives me the mental image of a HUGE celebration at the birth of Jesus.  A celebration so big that even now, thousands of years later, we’re still celebrating!

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I grew up in Thailand, and as a result we never had a real Christmas tree.  I like fake Christmas trees better than real ones for many reasons, but I did buy this real mini tree and put it in a pot that I had already.  IMG_5635 IMG_5634 IMG_5633 IMG_5632

I feel like a bit of a ninny-muggins for having a theme for my Christmas tree, but I do.  “Let Heaven and Nature Sing!”  I used natural colors and elements like animal ornaments.  IMG_5630 IMG_5619 IMG_5618

Stay tuned for more Christmas-y posts.  I’m planning on making more snow globes this year as well as door swags for outside!

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A Painting to Give Away

Here is the painting that I’ve been working on to give away.  It is going to a woman I know who is very generous.  This past year her dog Jade, who she loved very much, died.  I know it’s been difficult for her, and I decided to paint a portrait of Jade to send to her this year.      She doesn’t know I’m doing this, and I don’t think she reads my blog but you never know…it is a public blog, after all.  My plan is to mail it to her next week.

I am almost finished, but I’ll share the first couple of images with you.  You can’t tell from the pictures, but the painting is 18″x24.”

 I’ll be back with an update by the end of the week!

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Giving It Away

Donation to The Daughters of Hawai‘i

*image found here.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m donating things I tend to pick out the objects that are well-worn, out of style, or in a word, worthless.  When it comes to giving things to people in need, why don’t we ever give out of the good possessions that we have?  Why is it always the scraps?  Isn’t there a part of us that says, “They should be grateful to have anything they can get.”  But people in need are essentially getting the scraps in every area of their lives.  Maybe if we gave them things of value, they would feel valued.

I’m not saying that people should base their worth on what they have, but I’m more concerned about the message that we send people in need when everything that we give them is practically worthless.  And I’m definitely not saying that second-hand things shouldn’t be donated.  I think it’s a responsible thing to do on many levels.

We’re exploring this topic in terms of our talents in my art group this month.  In college I was taught that giving your art away is not something that should be done regularly.  It is bad for your business to do that.  How can you make money when you’re not selling your art?  But another part of me wants to use my abilities to be a blessing to others.  So this month, the people in my art group and I are all creating a piece (or pieces) with the medium of our choice to give away to someone…anyone!  The idea is to use our best materials, and to do our best work.  No scraps allowed!   I am not going to share my project with you yet, but I will tell you that it is an oil painting.

I sincerely hope that this attitude of giving does not end with this month.  I want to continue to keep my eyes and ears open for people to encourage with my art and with the many belongings that I’ve been blessed with.  Considering all that God has done for me and given me, it’s really the least that I can do.

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