Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Slow Day

A random assortment of slow photos from the last week - with school out and our schedule more fluid, we are finding more pockets of slow and Slow Day has looked different each week.

One of the true beauties of slow - it is completely customizable, very flexible and you can personalize it to your heart's content!!!

My little sweets gave me that lovely hobnail jar for Mother's Day!!!! And, special thanks to a sweet blog-reader, Alice, who sent me the hand-stamped muslin ribbon - so sweet!

We have been enjoying our porches so much - crafting on the porch swing, meals on the screened porch, reading books and watching bubble blowing and just sitting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Beauty of Nourishing at the Table

During the month of May, we have eaten many, many meals on our screened in porch. And, I've noticed a theme in many of my pictures capturing a beautiful table set to feed those who gather around.

It is striking me that I love to nourish beautifully and see food and the serving of it as artistic and creative.

We, as women, have such a big responsibility in our ministry of food. Yet, I also see it as such a gift. I love to see people enjoy something I've made. I love to see them smiling around the table chatting with friends or loved ones nearby, I love crafting a set of beautiful new memories gathered around the table.

Not only do we have a big responsibility in food, we have a lot of power really. We decide what to fix, how to fix it, when to fix it, where to serve it, how to serve it, where to buy our ingredients and what changes we will make to recipes. We decide what time to serve, what dishes we will eat off of and so much more. All of that can really set the tone for our meal don't you think?

I remember going to a friends house one time for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. A bunch of us girlfriends gathered around and she plopped a big bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough with a bunch of spoons poking out and a gallon of milk down among us. I have always loved that, I love that she did it, she served with confidence and I think there was even conversation about food being part of her ministry.

Something about it was so fun, maybe because there are so many voices telling us not to eat raw cookie dough and she gave us full permission to eat something we all loved. But of course, a big part of it was the beautiful way she served it. With love. Without judgement. With generosity.

Actually, I got kind of a laugh when I went back through my photos looking for meal captures and this is only from the month of May! Obviously, this has been on my mind even subconsciously this month!

No meal is too ordinary to just take two minutes to make special. Something I'd like to work on in the meal department is more meaningful conversation. We have done dinner questions, things you learned at school and more, but my little people don't always enjoy or engage in the more meaningful conversation opportunities and that will come as they grow, I hope!

While we're on the subject of food, I have a confession to make. I am very intimidated by the farmers market. I don't like feeling on the spot and buying directly from a human being does just that. The prices are frequently not posted and it creates a {for me} hard position of having to ask and then walking away if I don't feel like that suits what I am looking for. It is crowded and feels high pressure to me in certain ways.

But, I love the idea of the farmers market and would love to try and make it work more often. When my sweet friend suggested breakfast out for my birthday, I asked if she would go with me to the farmers market and help me get over the initial hump of my discomfort there. She is used to going so we went there first and I was uncomfortable, but I did get a few things I needed and was glad to go with a friend.

This past Saturday we went back and I took my children with me. I was hoping they would fall in love with it and that would be a help to me! I think they were pretty neutral about it, but Rachel especially enjoyed it.

I went with a mental list of what I was hoping to find for the coming week and I was so pleased that I found everything on my list. There are so many interesting things I'd love to try - so I might need to just make it a goal to try one new thing a week or a month?

One of the things I love about going is the beauty of the food displayed. No grocery store can compare to just natural food in natural display! I love that. And, knowing that those dear ones selling their produce or goods have toiled throughout the week to make this possible is very humbling.

It is God's handiwork and creativity on display, and man's God-given creativity also in seeing what people create from the food God provides: bread, pasta, tortillas and more {goodness, I must have bread items on the brain!}

This last week I was trying to be mindful of prices, I think in most cases what I got at the farmers market was actually very comparable to the going rate at our local grocery store. But some of my discomfort is with the large variance in price even between vendors or feeling more expensive than the grocery store.

When we got home, I spent the next hour slicing up my veggies for the week. I found it extremely calming, therapeutic and peaceful. The colors and smells were just a delight to me and I rejoice in God's creation.

Do you shop at the farmers market? How do you make it work for you? How do you see nourishing the mouths and souls at your table with beauty and loveliness?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Patriotic Mantel

I have had more fun with my mantel this year! My blog-friend Elise mentioned something about "vintage patriotic" in a message to me recently and I got the bug to update for summer! I don't know if I've thought of red/white/blue as a summer theme lately - how could I have forgotten how much I love these colors together and the theme was super fun to work out.

First of all, I shopped my house. I spent absolutely ZERO on this! Also, a quick note - I usually try to time my posts a little better as far as getting this up before Memorial Day and getting this up after you see me working on it in my Slow Day post {which won't be shown for two more days!} but this is just what worked this time - hope it is not confusing.

The first thing was to make a new fabric garland to hang from the mantel. I made the first one for Easter a couple of years ago and have loved having it there so much. It adds some lovely color and texture to this space and looks terribly bare when I take it down. I pretty much left the Spring one there for over a year and then made a new one this past Fall.

A quick rummage through my fabric and scraps yielded enough red/white/blue and gray to pull this off. It was very close knowing if I'd have enough - but it turned out! Rachel gave me a huge hug and thanked me for doing something special for "her season" since her birthday is in the summer. Oh my heart.

Links to free printables I used:
Garland hanging on chicken wire memo board
Patriotic Fans
Freedom Chalkboard Garland

My Summer Pinterest board here has lots more fun ideas!

Vintage post: A Blessing of Thanks for Memorial Day

Friday, May 22, 2015

Canvas Art Display Boards

We are finished with school {mostly, one is still finishing Math!} around here and are enjoying slower mornings. My favorite breakfast lately is homemade granola and it is even better eaten on the screened porch!

One morning, some canvases {also on the porch} caught my eye and were just calling to me! A friend moving recently gave me these two large thrifted canvases and I had thought we'd paint them and do an art project on them but then I thought of all the artwork I am handed regularly that I don't really have a good place to display.

I had originally thought burlap and then walking through Hobby Lobby I spied this lovely gray with polka dots duck cloth that I just knew was perfect. I used  my 40% off coupon and there ya go!

I was feeling sorta sorry to whoever spent time and energy painting these canvases. But, then I didn't feel too bad and wanted to make them more "me." Covering the canvas was really pretty easy - just smooth your fabric out and use a heavy duty stapler to attach to the wood framing.

Rachel was my helper - she went behind each of my staples and hammered it in just make sure it was all the way in there!

Then it was fun to add this rainbow cheeriness!! I did not measure {as usual} but just did the top one first, the the lowest one next and then kept trying to make them look even. Once I finished one board, I used it as a guide for matching up the measurements on my second one.

And, then a few small clothespins and all set! This took me about an hour to make, photograph and hang both boards.

Goodness, now I need to clean off my kitchen table obviously! :)