pen play…

I am thoroughly enjoying Joanne Sharpe’s Letter Love class. In two recent sessions she introduced us to Pilot’s Parallel Pen and also the Noodler’s Flex Nib fountain pens. This has been both interesting and challenging.


Because I’m left-handed.

When I took calligraphy in high school my teacher was good about trying to teach me techniques to compensate but I don’t even hold my regular pen the way a leftie “should”. So instead I just made do and kept blotting paper close by. The side of my left hand was often stained and I had to re-do quite a bit of work. I can get away with calligraphy markers because the felt nibs are forgiving of my nontraditional hand position.

So today I broke out an old copperplate nib and barrel as well as a parallel pen and fountain pen.


It’s been a number of years and I think it shows. I had a hard time mixing the gouache to a good consistency and I didn’t line my paper so my letters are dancing quite a bit.



If you’re a real calligrapher you might want to look away because you will shudder at the way I hold the poor parallel pen.



Then I played with an inexpensive Plumix fountain pen from Pilot (the only thing I could find locally). I like it, the ink flows well but it isn’t a pointed pen, which I prefer, instead it is an italic (or flat) nib. It writes well but not as fine as I would want (so I’ll be ordering a Noodler’s).


I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next… hopefully my Amazon gift cards can handle it. ;)



Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention 2014

healing art…

No, this is not some new age healing post.

It’s about how God is allowing the gifts He has given me to help heal my heart.

Some times a pen can express words that our mouths can’t seem to speak.


So thankful for the class Joanne is teaching, He is using it greatly to minister to my heart.

reigniting my inner artist…

Those that know me well know that art has always been a huge part of me.

I studied art through high school and college, apprenticed for a designer, and painted, lettered, sketched, took pictures. A. LOT.

and then I had children…

With so many little fingers around there wasn’t space or time for the art I once did.

So I adapted.

Having my first child thrust me into the desire to scrapbook every moment of his life, but then I blinked and had 3 children and not one completed scrapbook. I played with rubber stamping. Stamps took over my craft space. When our basement flooded while I was pregnant with baby #4 (happy birthday Mikaela!!) I temporarily lost my craft space and grew a desire to craft in a way that was a little more portable. We had just started to cloth diaper so I was venturing into wool covers and had my mom teach me knitting basics. I knit A LOT. I wanted more yarn in more colors so I grabbed some undyed yarn and dug out my old dyes. CreativLEI Made was born. Knitting and dyeing soon led to spinning my own yarn too. SO. MUCH. FUN. When I began homeschooling I lost the time I used to have to dye. I still knit and I still spin though.

After losing Miranda knitting is just… different.

I should be knitting longies and sweaters for my little peanut. But she’s not here. The layette I knitted for her has been packed away. I’ve worked on some knitting for myself, mostly shawls and a little bit of spinning.

But it just isn’t the same right now.

I found an offering for an online lettering class from Joanne Sharpe (Whimspirations). It was very reasonable priced and I have nearly all the supplies in my stash already, so I signed up.

I had a blast rummaging through my stash and putting my supplies into a nice portable workcase so that I can work on my homework whenever and wherever I get a few minutes.

I love journaling and the idea of doing it a little more artistically tickles me.

We’re two lessons in so far and I’m having so much fun! It’s been a great creative outlet.

It isn’t too late for you to join in!

Be sure to say hi if your in the class with me! Can’t wait to see you there.

why do I blog…

and what makes you want to read it?

For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved journaling. I may not have ever filled a journal completely but there are probably dozens of books with my scribbling in existence. I was even the editor of my high school yearbook so that I could have an opportunity to make my yearbook the record that I really wanted it to be. Once I had children I jumped into scrapbooking. Then I had more children and there was just no time to scrapbook. I still had so many things I wanted to remember though, so I dove into the world of blogging. My first posts were back in 2006! Living in different states than all of our extended family members made blogging an opportunity to share our daily lives with those we love that we’re far away from. I’m pretty sure only family members read my posts for the longest time. My blog is linked to most of the places I participate in online so I’ve gotten a few reads here and there throughout the years, from crafting sites, homeschooling sites, Hyena Cart, online mom communities and so on.

When Miranda was born my blog was silent, I didn’t know how to share about her just yet, wasn’t sure I wanted to go “public” with her so I went back to a paper journal and started recording her life story.

When she died I knew I wanted to blog. I had so much to write and my pen just wasn’t moving fast enough.

All of a sudden people were reading and responding to what I was saying in numbers I never expected.

So here I am navigating this blogging thing with a mind for what lies ahead. Do I really have something to add to the world of blogging? Is my story different enough to receive interest but also just as much relatable? Can I be consistent in posting? Do I have to be focused on one thing? Will I have to chose to be a craft blog? A homeschooling blog? A baby-loss blog? Can I be a little of all of that? Or, should I continue on just journaling our life?

Why am I even asking these questions?

When I started blogging Miranda’s story I had an audience and people started subscribing. I read a (few) post(s) by Amy at Raising Arrows about the 2:1 Conference for blogging homeschool moms, she challenged her readers to consider whether God was calling them to take their blogs further and to consider if attending the convention was in His plans. I’ve been thinking about it often and am praying for Him to open the door if that is what He wills. Amy offered an opportunity to win a ticket to the conference by blogging about why you wanted to go. I missed the deadline. Today I saw that Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers was also opening up that opportunity! I couldn’t miss a deadline again.

I’m continuing to pray that I use this blog for purposes that bring glory to my Savior. I may not speak His name in every post, but I hope my life proves that Jesus is the center without me needing to use words.


make your own serving pieces…

I will readily admit that I have a great time scouring my local Goodwill stores for thrifty deals. We were getting ready to have some friends over and the menu was potluck appetizers. I needed a few fun serving pieces but I’d rather spend my money on tasty ingredients than the things to serve them on.

I made a quick trip over to Goodwill to browse the housewares. I came across a few pretty plates and vases to make pedestal servers. The only thing you need besides the pieces is a tube of E6000 glue to put them all together.

All my supplies, E6000 from a local chain craft store (around $3.50) and a china plates and a dinner dish from Goodwill (ranging from $0.97 – $1.97) and a sundae dish and two vases (all less than $2.00). I removed the price stickers being careful to get all the adhesive off.

Add glue to the base of a sundae dish,

and then center on the bottom of a china plate.

Glue around the rim of a vase,

and then center on the bottom of the coordinating plate.

Just let them sit while the E6000 cures.

All done and curing!

Go see what you can find to create your own!

now what…

It has been a little over two months since Miranda was born. It’s been just over as month since she died.

Now what? Where do we go from here?

I feel like I’m still stuck in limbo. We haven’t started to really school again just yet. Thanksgiving came and went fairly uneventfully and surprisingly lacking an emotional breakdown (Thursdays are usually pretty hard for me since it is the day of the week she was born and also the day of the week she died).

Now here we sit in the first week of December.

How did that happen?

Most days I flounder between feelings of what I was “supposed” to be doing and what is really going on in our day-to-day. Christmas is coming quickly and I’m torn between wanting to just forget it is even on the calendar because I don’t get to celebrate with my youngest daughter and thinking of ways to keep it special for my living children and honor it as the day we celebrate Christ’s birth along with honoring the memory of our Miranda.

It’s a tough spot to be.

I had high hopes of creating a list of Advent activities for us to adventure through together. Truth is I’m an extraordinary procrastinator and wasn’t able to get my ideas out of my head and into tangible form this year. So instead of making some big production we’ll just kind of wing it. I’m not going to tell the children what I have planned in advance for a couple of reasons; 1. They would nag me to tears. Love them dearly but nothing sucks the joy out of life like incessant nagging. 2. I’m enough of a realist to know that there will be plenty of days that we won’t get around to our activity of the day and then the perfectionist in me will want to double up on things so as not to miss out on any of the good-stuff.

So what will I do?

We’ll have a few field trips. We’re going to a firehouse for a tour today.

We’ll go to cut down our Christmas tree in the middle of the month.

We’ll make Christmas cards and bring them to one of the assisted living homes near us.

We’ll visit with friends.

We’ll do a bunch of crafts.

We’ll bake cookies.

We’ll do a little Christmas shopping.

We’ll paint Christmas ornaments.

We’ll miss Miranda through it all.

We’ll be thankful that even though she isn’t with us now that we had almost a whole month to love her while she was here.

We’ll choose something Christmas-y to go decorate Miranda’s grave site.

We’ll remember that Christ was born to die and that accepting the gift of His death is what ensures we’ll see our little girl again.

18 Days of crafting until Christmas…(Wooden Spool Holy Family)

Trust me I am actually working on projects everyday, I’m only posting them once they’re complete though.

So here is the next installment.

Holy Family Wooden Spool Dolls

With a few simple supplies I was able to grab at Michaels,

and some scrap fabric in my stash, as well as some acrylic paint and embellishments from my scrapbooking supplies,

I created these little guys…

Maybe next year I’ll add some more figures, but this is a good start!

Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention 2014