Happy Easter, He is Risen! Καλό Πάσχα και Χριστός Ανέστη!

Yes, I know,  I am not Greek Orthodox, nor am I from any of the countries that observe Orthodox Easter.  But, since we were traveling last Sunday, we had our Easter celebration today.  And, since Easter is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, shouldn’t we celebrate every day of the year!

He is risen indeed. Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!

Prior to leaving for Spring Break, I spent some time making an Easter plate for my kitchen plate holder.  I think it turned out really well.

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The creation of this plate involved several steps:

  1. Base of plateIMG_1607
    • Bottom glass – clear layer of glass measuring just under 7″ square
    • Top glass – medium blue outer border 1/2″ wide, green noodle (standing on edge) and varied sized pieces of variety of transparent blue glass in a patchwork pattern
    • Light amber glass cut in 5/8″ strips to make the base of the cross
    • 7″ square stainless steel form, lined with shelf paper
    • Full fused
  2. Pieces of purple transparent medium frit to make grapes full fused (visible on the right side of the stainless steel form in the photo above)
  3. Green noodles and stringer, bent by holding the glass in the flame of a soldering torch
  4. Dove and dove wing cut from thin iridescent white glassIMG_1609
  5. Leaves cut from thin green glass
  6. Cross cut from dark amber glass, slumped over 1/8″ fiber paper to be able to “weave” the glass
  7. Cross, dove, vines and grapes place onto base glass and light contour fused to the plateIMG_1612
  8. Slump in a plate mold.

Big Island Vacation

Spring Break –  a chance to get away to warmer weather.

Day One – departed MN at 1 pm CDT, layover in LA and arrived in Kona at 8 pm HST – long day!

 

Day Two – over an inch of rain made for a wet day but a stunning sunset.

 

Day Three – Lavaman Triathlon start and finish were on the beach  outside our lanai.  We watched, but did not participate – drove to see the Pololu Valley and northwest coast line instead.

Day Four – drove to Hilo, still overcast, but we were able to see Rainbow Falls and Pe’epe’e Falls before the rain fell. Another gorgeous sunset.

Day Five – a long walk by the villa lead to finding several very friendly resort cats!

Day Six – Long walk along the beach, drive into Kona, and more time at the beach.

Day Seven – Volcano National Park, Ki’lauea Crater, Thurson Lava Tube and Chain of Craters Road.

Day Eight – Helicopter Ride and Petroglyph Field

 

Day Nine – Drove to Ka Lae, also known as South Point, is the most southerly piece of ground in the US and Flight Home.

Happy Pi(e) Day

In honor of National Pi Day (March 14 or 3.14), I made two pies for my birthday treat to take to work.

Peach Pie with Pecan CrustIMG_2627

Pastry Dough

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup ground pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together shortening, butter and sugar.
3. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder.
4. Combine creamed mixture with dry ingredients and ground pecans.  Dough will be crumbly.
5. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
6. Press dough into pie plate and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Peach Filling
5 peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs corn starch
1 small pkg peach jello

1. Place peach slices and water in a microwave safe bowl and cook at high for four minutes. Drain water into a separate bowl.
2. Mix together sugar, corn starch and jello.
3. Slowly sprinkle mixture into hot peach water.
4. Heat to a rolling boil.
5. Remove from heat and stir in peaches.
6. Pour mixture into pecan crust.
7. Refrigerate until set.

 

Almond Pear TartIMG_2628

Pastry Dough

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten

1. Place flour and sugar in food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
2. Scatter butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse to coarse mixture.
3. Add egg and process for about 10 seconds, until clumps form.  The dough at this stage will be very sticky.
4. Wrap dough and freeze for one hour to make dough easier to handle.
5. Press dough into pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.    Note: a removable bottom tart pan would make serving easier since the crust tends to stick to the pan.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Custard Filling
2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 large egg

1. Mix flour and sugar together.
2. Add butter and flavoring and blend until smooth.
3. Mix in egg. Pour into crust.
4. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Pears
2 pears, peeled, halved and cored
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice

1. Bring water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Add pears and allow to sit in hot syrup for 30 minutes.
3. Remove pears and place on paper towel to remove excess moisture.
4. Cut each pear half into thin slices and arrange atop the filling like spokes of a wheel, pressing down into filling.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

If you try these recipes, I hope you enjoy them.

Contentment… Chasing an elusive goal.

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Nearly every day while perusing through social media, we see the best of our friend’s lives. I am guilty of only posting happy things that make it appear that my life is always great.  I write my blog to display the crafts, cooking and family activities that turn out well.  I avoid showing my mistakes and failures.  Perhaps one of these days I will write a blog postings about these “Epic Failures” to show that not everything goes as planned.

But, when things are not going well, viewing these happy postings on social media can make a person feel down. Friends vacationing in fun, exotic places – why am I not with them?  Friends buying new retirement homes in warm sunny locations – why am I living in cold and snowy Minnesota?  Job successes – why do patients (actually make that parents of patients) complain when I try to provide the best possible care for their child? And many more examples.

Last Wednesday, I was frustrated to be dealing with the second migraine in five days that did not respond to my prescription medication.  If you have every experienced an intractable migraine, you will understand the discomfort I was in. And to top it off, around mid-day abdominal pain started.  I was like – oh great migraine induced nausea, I haven’t had to deal with that for a while.  After a couple of weeks of many unexpected, less than ideal events, I had a few tears of frustration that afternoon.

Overnight my abdominal pain became much worse, prompting a trip to urgent care in the morning and Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) later in the day.  Being in too much pain to even be able to knit, I had a lot of time to stand around (it hurt too much to actually sit down) and think and realize that I needed to change my perspective on my life.

I needed to embrace contentment and gratitude for what I have been given.  Rather than being concerned about my parents’ health, I should be grateful that they are settled into a senior housing center that has nursing staff available when they need the help.  Rather than being jealous about the fun vacations my friends are on, I should be grateful for the vacations I may be able to take in the future.  Rather than complaining about the snow, I should be grateful that spring will be here in just a few weeks.  I should be more grateful for my loving husband, four wonderful sons, warm home, etc.

But more importantly, I should be content in the grace given by my heavenly father. Through God’s grace, I have been given much and should seek contentment and anchor my joy in God himself rather than trying to change my circumstances. I need to take to heart the statement in Erik Raymond’s book, Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age (Crossway, 2017), “If you want to be content, think less about yourself and more about Christ.”

Dresden Village Fused Glass Clock

img_1350Wanting to add some color to my sewing room, and make something functional, I decided to make a fused glass clock.  Actually, I just needed an excuse to work with glass again .

Looking at ideas on-line,  I found lots of pictures of clocks that other people had made (see photo below for some of my favorites).  While all of these were great, and any one of them would have been fun to make, I really wanted to come up with an idea that was unique to me.

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So, one day while I was looking at some pictures of quilts, I came up with an idea for my clock.  The quilting project I saw was called “Dresden Village”.  This pattern involved using the Dresden Plate pattern to make a center table mat that depicted houses around a circle.

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Since the Dresden Plate pattern involves pie shaped pieces sewn into a circle, I thought it would be an ideal pattern to use for a clock.  The circle could be divided into 24 pieces each with a 15 degree angle.  Pieced together, the taller houses mark the hours and the smaller houses mark the half hour.  To further differentiate the time, I made the doors of the taller houses with black noodles and the smaller houses with red noodles.

 

 

IMG_1280The house numbers were printed on photo transfer paper and the windows were dichroic slide paper.  Black glass was used to add a roof to each house.  Glass Frit of various sizes and shades of green were used to create trees and shrubs in the “Central Park”.  The clockworks were added.

Now I have a colorful clock in my sewing room!

Clock Ideas
Other clock ideas I liked

Two weeks in three trips = four scarves

Living in Minnesota, the thought of hopping a plane on the weekend to go someplace warm is very inviting.  This year, I planned two trips to get away to warmer weather.  These trips, one to Clearwater Beach, Florida and one the San Francisco, were on two consecutive weekends.  Then a few days after the planned second trip, I had to make an unexpected trip to Houston.  So, that meant that in fifteen days I had three trips, including seven flights (totaling almost 2,000 miles) and numerous hours in airplanes and airports.

For me, this was a bit more travel than I would prefer.  To pass the time, I brought along some knitting and crocheting.  As a result, I was able to completed four scarves to donate.

Scarf One – Queen Anne’s Lace Crochet Scarf

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Trip One – Clearwater Beach, Florida

Scarf Two – Eyelash Yarn Knit Scarf

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Trip Two – San Francisco

Scarf Three – Cashmere Knit Scarf

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Trip Three – Houston

 

Houston

Scarf Four – Varigated Yarn Knit Scarf

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I am looking forward to a few weeks with no need to travel!

“Throwing a girl fit”

Being a mom of four boys, I have flown with my children at various ages.  The youngest age was when my second son was only two weeks old and I needed to attend a meeting at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in Atlanta.  But, other trips included a four week old to attend a national pediatric dental meeting, and various trips with the boys at ages younger than one year old.

So, I understand the anxiety of a mom having to fly with a young child and the worry about the unpredictable behavior that that children may exhibit when flying.

Yesterday,  I was returning from a stressful unexpected trip out of town and experienced a very sweet gesture by a new mom traveling with her daughter.  Before the flight took off, this mother came through the entire cabin of the plane and handed out baggies to every passenger (yep – everyone).  In the baggies were some gum, candies, ear plugs and a note.  The note read:

“Hello,
My name is Alice Rose.  I turned 4 months old on February 5, 2018.
I am flying with my mother and grandmother to Minnesota to surprise my great grandmother who turns 92 years old this coming week; and whom I have never met and who has never met me.
I promise that I will try and be good. But my mother is afraid that I will find the plane ride uncomfortable – and that I will be unpleasant – (as she says…”throwing a girl fit”).  I will try my best not to “throw a girl fit”. But, if I do, please forgive me.
Thank you so much
Alice Rose”

 

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This was a very kind gesture by a mom, and a very smart way to preempt any complaints about her child.  Everyone on the plane was very kind back to her and some sitting near her even offered to hold her daughter if the flight proved to be difficult.

Happily, little Alice Rose slept for the entire flight and we arrived in Minneapolis without even one complaint.