Friday, February 27, 2015

February 33 Challenge

The end of the 33 While 33 challenge is almost year. There will be one more check in before the last day and finial evaluation on April 25th. This year has been the most successful birthday-bucket-list-challenge yet; my average has been half the challenges in the past. And there are only 11 challenges to complete in the next 57 days. I can do that.

I've organized the progress evaluation a little different this time. I've group challenges together based on their status under a status heading. The numbers match the original order of the challenges. This is how things stand:

Challenges Completed Since January's Review -2
10. Remember Birthdays
17. Learn a new skill
Challenges Yet to be Started -4
2. Paint the canvas
16. Create a photo book
28. Be flexible
30. Send one of my works of fiction to a publisher
Challenges Started/In Process -7
3. Read the whole Bible
4. Finish 11 non-fiction books
9. Plan a trip
11. Mail letters
23. Grow something
24. Be a vegetarian for 30 days
31. Do something I've been putting off
Completed Challenges -20
1. Choose a "My One Word" to focus my 33rd year: Abide
5. Go some place new
6. Serve/help/volunteer in a new way
7. Capture Happiness every day
8. Count my blessings
12. Visit my Grandma Stewart
13. Build a snowman with my sister
14. Take a hot air balloon ride with my mum
15. Go for a hike in the woods 
18. Make a new friend
19. Reconnect with past friends
20. Dance
21. Try a new food
22. Draw
25. Sleep under the stars
26. Celebrate an obscure or odd "holiday"
27. Send flowers
29. Get lost in a corn maze
32. Host a murder mystery
33. Go on a date
22 challenges completed! That leaves 7 challenges in progress and 4 to start. If my math is correct, I need to complete a challenge every five days for the next 57 be be finished on April 25. I am confident most of the challenges will be finished, expect 3, 4, 16 and maybe 24 and 30. We shall see.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday's Weekly Sketch #7 -Two Glass Bottles

I am frustrated with the scanner again. So I've included two reproductions of this week's sketch. The first is the scanned copy, the second is a picture take on my phone. Should I keep scanning the images or switch to using snapshots?
Thank you to everyone for the encouragement on last week's orange. I can't take too much credit, I did draw it but both the orange and these bottles are still life studies from The Art of Drawing with Pencils. I tried doing a still life of a real mug and got hopelessly frustrated. My sketching skills are still rusty.

But there is hope, I'm noticing improvements. I have even found myself more patient with the drawing process. Normally, I want to work fast and have a finished piece. I actually felt more relaxed and steady while working on this sketch.
 
I am trying not to be to hard on myself. I enjoyed the process of this sketch more than the end result. Looking at the snapshot I see areas that needed better shading, or less shading, or a different type of pencil mark. My favourite part is the neck and top of the larger bottle. And I have to keep reminding myself, all of my 2015 sketches are 100% better than the nothing I produced last year.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday Tutorial: Colourful Smiling Dipped Candles

My friend Courtney and I are co-counsellors of the grade six group at GEMS, our church's girls club. We asked the girls weeks ago what were some of the badges the would like to work on as a class.

One of their requests was the Candle Making Badge. So Friday, we made two different candle crafts. The first was stamping on candles (that will be a future tutorial) and the second was dipped candles. The girls had a great time; for whimsical touch we added faces to our candles.

This was my fourth time making dipped candles with kids. The first time was when I was in a Girl Guild, probably in grade 4 or 5. The second I was 16 and a jr. counselor at a Girl Guide camp. The third was in 2010 during Backyard Clubs. There was not an incident because we were prepared.

When making candles with children:
  • There must be clear instructions
  • A warning that the wax is hot and they need to be careful. I often include a remembered that there will be no fooling around or horse play or those involved will not be allowed to finish.
  • Enough adults supervising (including one adult always watching the melting wax and when the dipping was happening else where an adult monitoring the dipping).
  • Since we kept our wax in the double boiler with the oven on we only allowed one girl in the kitchen at a time and had two adults in the kitchen. The rest were lined up outside the kitchen.
Now on with the tutorial...

Supplies: paraffin wax. broken crayons, tins (we used four old apple juice tins, wick (I got a spool of wick string at Michaels), a pot to use as a double boiler, oven mitts, pail or bowl of water, butter knife, googly eyes, and we needed a large knife to cut our paraffin wax brick.  

Step 1: Prepare Your Supplies
If you are using broken crayons, peel off any labels and divided them into different tins. I have a red and orange crayon tin, blue and purple crayon tin, and yellow and green crayon tin. I added a bit of paraffin wax to each of these tins to help balance the quality of different crayon wax. The fourth tin is just for paraffin wax.
This is where your double boiler pot comes in. First fill it half way full with water. I placed the four tins in the pot to make sure the water level wouldn't raise too much when they were added later. I then remove the tins. Place the pot on the stove top and bring to a boil.

Step 2: Melt the wax
Once the water is boiling turn down the heat and add your tins. It is important to have an adult watching the wax. If I wasn't at the stove, my co-councillor was monitoring the wax. It worked out well.
 

We started melting the wax 2 hours before our craft time with the girls.

What we discovered was that paraffin wax and crayon wax have different melting points (yay science). The paraffin wax would melt and stay melted in the simmering water but the other tins were still lumpy, especially the red. We had to turn the heat back up and keep the water boiling so that the red wax would stay melted. We had to add water to the double boiler at least once, so that is something to watch for

Step 3: Cut Wicks
While the wax was melting I used the waiting time to cut lengths of string of my spool of wick cord. I cut our cords to be 2ft (24in or 60cm). It worked but I found it length a bit too long. Next time I would try 14-18 in (35-45cm).

Step 4: Set up a place for the candles to rest
If you are making more than one candle at a time it is useful to have a place to hang your candles. I made our area before starting to melt the wax. It is a old wrapping paper tube on top of craft storage boxes. I used a bit of tape on both ends to stop the tube from rolling.


Step 5: Dip in Wax - Dip in Water -Repeat
Hold the wick in the middle keeping the two ends separate. Dip the wick in the wax. Quickly lift it up. Hold it above for a moment or two to let any wax drip off. This helps conserve your wax and saves on clean up time later.

Once the drips have stopped place the wax/wick in the water.

Then repeat until you are satisfied with the thickness of your candles.


 
Useful Suggestions, Tips, and Ideas:
  • Before the girls arrived we dipped the wicks 10 times in the clear paraffin wax (with water dips in between) so they would have a base to work with. I find starting is the hardest because you don't notice the candle is forming till about the 5th dip.
  • If the crayon wax is too lumpy or isn't melting at the same temperature as the other tins add more paraffin wax.
  • You can buy coloured paraffin wax and paraffin dyes at craft stores. Theses will produce a better quality candle. We used broken crayons because it is away to recycle.
  • It is important to dip quickly. I find children want to leave their candles in the wax to help it grow more. Only that has the opposite effect. Their candle starts to melt and comes out thinner.
  • If you are making candles with a group of children, consider having another activity happening in another area. We had the other candle craft happening in our classroom (with another leader supervising). We would have one girl in the kitchen dipping 10 times. Then they would hang their candle on our rack (with their name below) and it would be the next girls turn. Once everyone had a turn dipping 10 times we had them line up outside the kitchen. The girl in the kitchen would dip twice in the colour of their choice then go to the end of the line to wait for their next turn. It worked very well.

Optional: Add a Face
To add a face we dipped a single candle in the clear paraffin wax and quickly added the googly eyes. Then we re-dipped that candle in the paraffin wax (covering the eyes) before dipping the candle in the water. For safety reasons and the need to add the googly eyes quickly I did the actual dipping and adding. The girls would hold their candle and the googly eyes. Then we did the same thing with the second candle.

Last I inserted a hot butter knife just below the eyes. I had set it in the boiling water for a few moments to heat up. Then I carefully pulled the wax down to make a mouth. I had to be careful only to insert the knife part way so the candle didn't break. I only felt worried on some of the girls' thinner candles; I didn't want to ruin their candles.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sisters' Top Ten Cosplay Plans

Over Christmas break Sister and I started talking about costumes. It was part of one of our family road trips chats. We share a lot of similar interests, so the discussion became what could we dress up as together. Our first idea was "Peter Pan and his shadow" and grew to fictional sisters and finally just things we both enjoy. We were going to make it a "Top Ten" blog post but we struggled to narrow it down the ideas.

While trying to narrow our list, Dad asked when we would ever be able dress up together. I'm never home for Halloween with Sister. So I said Sister could visit me for Hal-Con, or we could both go the Fan Expo (Toronto's comic convention). Which he thought was a great idea. I began looking into attending Fan Expo. We decided it would be a bit too much for this year...so the plan is for Sister to fly to me so we can both go to Hal-Con!

That decision has made our costume list more exciting then just a fun discusion. Now we're woking on choosing three ideas could we actually pull off for Hal-Con. Here is the list we've brainstormed, it includes the characters with a link to googled examples and any fun thoughts we had about the costumes. The ideas with "*" are the ones we are considering doing the most.

1. Peter Pan and His Shadow
Peter Pan is Sister's favourite Disney movie and character. The other option could be to do Peter and Tinker Bell. But so far we've passed on the idea.

2.  The Sibylline Sisterhood*
The 10th Doctor came across the Sisterhood in The Fires of Pompeii.
I think the costume would be easy enough to sew and I like the idea of a subtle Doctor Who reference. I also would enjoy a more recognizable Doctor Who costume. I like Doctor Who.

3. Amy and River Song
I think this would be a perfect Doctor Who pair for Sister and me. Sister could be Amy and I'd be River Song. So that my younger sister was playing River Song's mother who is younger than River Song because time travel.

4. Idris and Amy
This is the last Doctor Who costume on the list. Idris is from an 11th Doctor episode called The Doctor's Wife. The essence of the TARDIS is put into a woman named Idris. The great thing about this pair is if we also do Amy and River we'd already have the Amy costume ready.

5. Elsa and Anna
From the very popular Frozen. This was the second costume idea we came up with because the girls are also sisters. My sister pointed out that it's too popular right now so there might be too many and the dresses would be complicated.

6. My Little Ponies*
We both loved MLP as little girls. I gave Sister her first pony. And we both like the human pony costumes. I have some ideas how we can pull it off. Right now the talks is Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash.

7. Sailor Moon
This was a discussion when co-costumes was still just an idea. I don't think I could pull off a sailor scout costume. Our talks were either to go as Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon or two Scouts we like.

8. Pikachu and Ash
Sister has a Pikachu costume from past Halloween so it is something we could pull off easily enough. The downside is how little I actually know about Pokémon.

9. Hunger games
This was our most heated discussion. With both agreed there would be a Katniss. The contention was Katniss and who. Sister believes we should keep the sister theme going and be Katniss and Prim. With me being Katniss and her being Prim. I like the concept but don't really have the athletic build of Katniss (I'm a bit more chubby). My idea is that Sister goes as Katniss and I go as Effie. Sister was completely against the idea till she remembered the monarch butterfly dress; then she warmed up to the idea a bit. Though it is not completely resolved.

10. Ruby and Yang
These two sisters are from RWBY by Rooster Teeth. You can watch the first two seasons on Rooster Teeth' site, YouTube, and Canadian Netflix (I don't know if it is available on US). I would love to create both these costumes but I think they would take a lot of effort and still so a possible future project but not for this year.

Those are the ideas we came up with and have been thinking about. I haven't stopped thinking about other ideas that work. We still have one more idea to choose and then the fun/challenging part of turning the ideas into reality. Do you have any ideas we should add to the list? Leave a comment, thanks.

Ideas I've Had Since I've Been Home:
Go Go Tomogo and Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6
The Ugly Stepsisters from Cinderella
Susan and Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia

More Ideas: Added February 24

  • Woman from Lord of the Rings, the options are Rosie Cotton (Hobbit). Arwen (Elf), Éowyn (Human), or Galadriel (Elf).
  • Last Airbender, so many options Katara, Toph, Princess Yui, or Suki
  • How to Train Your Dragon (just saw a great tutorial for Toothless)
  • I forgot we talked about Harry Potter characters
  • Superheros or X-men
  • There are a number of Studio Ghibli characters I'd love to try
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Any Disney princess
I'm going to stop now, there are just so many possibilities. 


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Coldest Night of the Year 2015

Yesterday was the Coldest Night of the Year walk; this is a nation-wide walk-a-thon mentioned on the blog back on the 15th. Thank you to my friends and family who supported me. My personal goal was $150 and I raised $275!!!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I was also the team captain for the youth group. We had the original name of New Hope Youth Group and a goal of $500. We surpassed our goal by 158% raising $788,50! Again, thank you to all the family and friends who supported us.

The money raised is going to Open Arms. A local non-profit charity that helps those who are in crisis in my area, living in poverty, or find themselves living on the streets. I think that's what I love about the Coldest Night of the Year. There were people walking in cities and towns across Canada, but we were each supporting the charities and local organizations that work in our own areas. Now on to the actual walk.

Our youth group had a team of five registered, sadly, two had to miss because of illness. The two remaining girls and myself (pictured above) braved the cold and walked the 5Km.

First, was registration and connecting with friends and other teams.
 
I enjoyed that there were snacks; chips from Frito Lay and apples from Give Them A Wink.
The hall looked wonderful thanks to A Beautiful Bouquet. It was a nice touch.
Some of the teams were in costumes. Below are the "Soup Angels;" 
the team is made up of volunteers from our local soup kitchen.
 
The girls and I talked about possible costume and team names for next year. Our favourite was "NOT Frozen" and we would dress as characters from Frozen. The other ideas was dressing as Minions; we did not come up with a name yet.
The walk
2.5 Km Half way Rest Stop
I've never been more excited to see my friend Joel,
I was so thankful for the cup of water he gave me.
Some fun before we turned around and started the walk back.
This leader of the Christian Cadets (my church's boys' club)
Look how high the snowbanks are! 
I know I'm not tall but still
 
Post-walk photos!

When we walked in there was a group singing "Oh When The Saints Come Marching In." It was sweet. One of the girls asked if they sang that the whole time and didn't the singers get tired of the song. It was an interesting thought; I hope they switched off singing duty.

We then got in line for soup, hot chocolate, sandwiches, and cookies. I was impressed with all the food donations. Thank you to Tim Hortons and Swiss Chalet for donating food. 

After the meal there was a short information session about going on with Open Arms. Then there was prizes for the best dressed team, highest fundraiser, highest youth team -which was the Christian Cadets (boys club) from my church! And then prize draws. My youth pictured above won three months Tai-Kick-something lessons.

I just checked the Coldest Nigh of the Year site. Annapolis Valley is 5th in country (after Toronto, Kitchener/Waterloo, Calgary, and Winnipeg) and is 145% above their goal with $72,883!!! Again,

Thank You!!!


The Simple Woman Daybook 154

FOR TODAY: February 22, 2015
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Blog.

Outside my window...so much snow, so very much snow.

I am thinking about...blogging.

I am thankful for...my warm apartment.

In the kitchen...I made supper at home three times this week and was feed by others twice.

I am wearing...brown boots and a navy and white dress.


I created...dip candles with my GEMS girls on Friday: I should have a tutorial up on Tuesday.

I am going...to be up all night.

I am wondering...why I feel so tired. I went to bed at 9:30 pm.

I am reading...Kabloona in the yellow kayak : one woman's journey through the Northwest Passage, The icebound land [audio book], and The Bible.

I am hoping...to blog everyday this week and sometimes twice.

I am looking forward to...opening my Stampin Up! parcel that arrived Thursday.

I am learning...Spanish.

I am hearing...someone walking in the next room.

Around the house...I can see the couch and table again because friends came over for games which forced me to tidy. I should have friends over more often.

One of my favorite things...my youth group. They are awesome young people!

A few plans for the rest of the week:...it's not my busy week but it's going to be just as full. Tomorrow will be catching up on sleep post Inn From the Cold, errands, and writing group, Tuesday will be my only night at home, Wednesday is a Mission group meeting, Thursday is youth group, and Friday we're taking a group of students to Hillside Rally.

A Picture To Share:...this is just before the Coldest Night of the Year walk

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Can Christians Be Funny?

Of course we can; people laugh at me all the time! Wait, I mean...ahh...umm... Let me try this again:

In 2012, I had great intentions of starting a regular blog series based on conversations I had with my friend, who is an atheist. I kinda overwhelmed myself that year; only two posts were actually shared and there are still four almost-ideas in draft form.

My friend, who I refer to as Favourite Atheist (FA) on the blog, and I still have regular conversations about God, religion, and philosophy in between talks about books, movies, and food. Many of our discussions (more his questions) make me stop and think "hey, I should blog that." I've had the thought often enough that I've decided to actually write them. It won't be weekly but hopefully shorter wait that seasons of Sherlock and definitely better than once every three years. I even made the little "TWA graphic" to keep me inspired. So here goes:

The Topic: Can Christians Be Funny?
I got a text from FA this morning saying,
"I was reading an article about comedy, suggesting that there are no or almost no good conservative comedians. Do you think there are good Christian comedians? What about Christian satire?"
My Immediate Response:
I was still in a waking-up fog when I read the message and sent a very helpful, "There are and there was" back. Then hit snooze on my alarm.

My Reasoned Response:
I am more awake now and able expand on my answer. FA is also reading these for the first time (Hi Friend *waves* what do you think of the graphic?) so there won't be his response to my thoughts. He'll either leave a comment or I'll write a follow up later.

My answer part 1 "there are" -There are Christian comedians. I immediately thought of Tim Hawkins. He's caused me to laugh uncontrollably before.

There is also Michael Jr. (who I saw at the Gathering) and Mark Lowery (who I enjoyed in high school). I expected there were more than three so I googled "Christian Comedian" and found a list on Christian Comedy Acts. Not sure how funny any of them are but the list is 7 page list so Christian comedians aren't unicorns.

My answer part 2 "and there was" -The only Christian satire I could think of in the morning was the Wittenburg Door. My college library had a subscription when it was still a printed magazine. Today it only exists online as an archive. I found a Christianity Today article from 2002, Close the Door, about the history and evolution of the Wittenburg Door. It was an interesting read.

I appreciated Door's creators motivation. They loved Jesus and his followers but were willing to poke fun at the things that happen in Christian circles that contradicted the actions and beliefs involved with following Christ. Their goal was bring reformation through humour. I found a quote by the 1979 Door's editor that I thought was good, so I am going to quote a quote,
"We're trying to shoot down sacred cows that maybe shouldn't be sacred cows in the church," the editors explained in their fifth-anniversary issue (June/July 1976). "We're trying to get the church to look at issues that maybe they've just skimmed over in the past because 'everyone else is doing it.' We're trying to ask questions, perhaps, that some people aren't asking. We're trying to give frustrated people a platform from which to speak. And we're trying to do it all with a sense of humor."
On the drive to church I remember another satire Stuff Christians Like. The sites author, Jon Acuff, wrote an article for Relevant magazine Three Rules of Christian Satire, it shares the reality and struggles for those who use satire as Christians. What he said was worth reading. I was tempted just quote huge chunks in the conclusion but then it wouldn't have been my conclusion.

My Conclusion:
I think God has a scene of humour, have you seen a platypus? I also believe we were made to laugh. Humour can be "clean" and still funny. There are things that can be laughed over for the simple joy of joy and being a comedian who follows Jesus doesn't hinder a person. There are good/funny Christian comedians and satiricalists*. There are also bad/not funny Christian comedians. Just like there are funny and unfunny comedians who don't like Jesus.

Humour can also be the trigger for change. Satire by its nature is subversive. Church culture needs that every now and then. We call church circles in a "Christian bubble" for a reason. Those who have spent time in or around Christian culture know how much emphasis is placed on conforming and behaviour. My experience is within evangelical culture; we are proud of our conservatism and ability to support the status quo. Only the "status is not quo*" -and has nothing to do with following Jesus.

Jesus' teachings are counter cultural, they were counter-intuitive and subversive. There are actions and beliefs that church-going culture cling to that have nothing to do with following Jesus. Christian satire shines a light on behaviours and beliefs match those of the Jesus we claim to follow. When it targets religious things that we've made idols of satire can be a prophetic voice that leads to repentance and reform.

I think church culture needs a good dose of satire every now and then. We take ourselves too seriously sometimes. However, using satire isn't without risks and challenges, again read Acuff's article Three Rules of Christian Satire. Those who use satire walk a thin line between funny and mocking. And even when comedians and modern day prophets successfully walk that line there are people who don't (or can't) get the joke.

What do you think?
Please join the discussion. Do you agree? Disagree? Have a completely different view on the subject? Is there a comedian or satire I should check out? Add your thoughts, arguments or counter arguments in the comments. My only request, whatever your thoughts or views respect those who write. We can disagree without attacking people or their character.

------------
* Satiricalist -my spellcheck keeps telling me this is not a word with giving me any "did you mean options". So, if doesn't exist it should be and if it does but my spelling is too horrible that the spelling algorithms can't figure out what I am trying to say I am sorry.
*"The status is not quo" is a phrase used by Dr. Horrible in Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible Sing-A-Long Blog it is not a Christian comedy but I do enjoy it muchly.

Wednesday's Weekly Sketch #6 -An Orange


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snowbound, Blind Date, & Reading Raindow

So we got a bit of snow over the weekend. One report said that 50cms fell on Sunday. Cars were abandoned on the highway, people lost power, at one point the plows were pulled off the roads because the winds were too strong.

Through it all I was safe and snug in my house. I am very thankful the power didn't go out. It did effect my plans, nothing big, silly little things like forgetting to go grocery shopping before hand, so all the meals lacked juice and were not what I had planned. I also forgot my sketch book at the church so no drawing. And I've misplaced my tablet-keyboard so needed I had to wait till I was at the church to blog, which was sad because I had things to share like my Valentine's plans and a cool parcel that arrived. Now they are now smushed into this post when they could have stood alone.
 
I can't complain. It was nice being snowbound. I read books, slept in, lounged in PJ pants, and didn't leave my house till Monday afternoon. When I do go out to shove I discovered my wonderful neighbor had already cleared my stairs for me. At least I think it was her; it is the type of thing she would do. She's great!

Blind Date
February has one of my favourite days of the whole year.

February 15th - "Half Price Chocolate Day" 
Thank you, Valentine's Day! 

In seriousness, I find February 14th a strange day. I've had different feelings about it almost every year. I've been joyful, fake joyful, depressed, cynical (and discovered I do cynical better than I'd like to admit), bitter, and content. I've celebrated different ways from "Singles Awareness Day" or binge watched chick flicks to buying kid Valentines and share them with friends or hiding from everything and ignoring all romantic love.

This year I forgot about the 14th till I was visiting the library and saw this sign. They had seven or so books wrapped with only a word or two to describe the "blind date." I decided to sign out "gently magical" with the intent on reading it on Saturday.
Only on Saturday plans changed. First I overslept, was not feeling super. Then I read but a different book. But the best part of my day was going out that evening. Jamie was in the musical 9 to 5 playing the "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" boss and asked me to go (and not to slap him after the show). He's one of my best friends - so I went. I even got all dressed up not caring that I wasn't going out on a date. I felt good and content. It was a great night.

My good friend Donna had a gaggle of girls (actually were all women but I like the sound of gaggle of girls) going and let me join them. We thoroughly enjoyed the play. Jamie, who is not a jerk, did an excellent job playing a jerk and had me wanting to slap him but I controlled myself. After the show Donna and I enjoyed a few appetizers nearby. I love deep fried pickles. They are my new favourite food.

So it wasn't till later that I discovered what my blind date book was, The End of the Alphabet. I am just finishing up another book but I should start it later this week.

Reading Rainbow
I loved Reading Rainbow as a child. It was my favourite after school show. I struggled to learn read. My parent were my best allies, I wouldn't be where I am today without them. They instilled me a love for stories and reading. Reading Rainbow that helped them help me want to like books. So, this summer when I learned that Reading Rainbow had a huge Kickstarter campaign I knew I wanted to support it.

Kickstarter is one of many crowd-funding sites. If you have a project and need help you create a page/campaign. It includes what you want to do, your target financial goal, what supporters get for helping, and a deadline. Some projects also include stretch goals so that supporters get extra goodies for each new goal met. If you meet or surpass your funding goal when the campaign ends you earn the money and then deliver the promises to your supporters. If the project fails not nothing happens.
 
I was just one of 105,875 supporters that helped Reading Rainbow's surpass their million dollar goal earning $5,408,916. The project is to expand the Reading Rainbow app allowing children to access their resources, interactive field trips, and extensive library on more platforms (computers, tables, mobile devices, etc) and to provide free access to classrooms.
My supporter gifts arrived just before the storm. I love my new shirt. It makes me smile. And that was my weekend, I was snowed in, had a blind date with a book, and all because I use to watch Reading Rainbow (and my parents didn't give up on my).

Oh, I hear we are getting more snow on Thursday :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday #199 -February 12

I am thankful for...
  • The pastors I have the privilege of serving with 
  • The amazing students in my youth group 
  • Tea with friends I haven't seen in awhile
  • Friends who organize regular games events
  • Spontaneous game events
  • My writing group
  • My GEMS girls and co-leader; my co-leader is awesome.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday's Weekly Sketch #5 -Waterfalls

I'm happier with the second attempt at waterfalls. Water is tricky. In as effort to challenge myself and improve, I bought two "how to draw" books last week. The first was The Art of Pencil Drawing and the second was How to Draw and Paint Fairyland. I find the realistic still life and people challenging, hope the books will be useful.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Simple Woman Daybook 153

FOR TODAY: February 8, 2015
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Blog.

Outside my window...night.

I am thinking about...costume ideas.

I am thankful that...my Dad for all the times he did things that others would find scary and encouraged me to be adventurous; it is a quality I highly value today that he taught me.

In the kitchen...um...I don't want to admit how sad the state of my kitchen really is. I did find the milk I knew I bought last week. I was beginning to think I would find it spoiled in the near future. It turns out it fell under something in the trunk and is completely frozen.

I am wearing...jeans and a purple sweater. I was told I look good in purple. I had thought so too when I bought the top, it is nice to know I wasn't wrong.


I am creating...been working on so many cards this week, I've got a new waterfall sketch on the go for Wednesday, and a knitting project I should work on again.

I am going...to be creative tomorrow.

I am wondering...how do they get the caramel into a Caramilk bar?

I am reading...The Hobbit, Conrad's Fate, Utmost for His Highest, The Bible.

I am hoping...for less snow storms this week.

I am looking forward to...card craft day and writing group both happening tomorrow.

I am learnt...that Canadian passports have neat extras when viewed under blacklights.

I am hearing...the computer hum.

Around the house...I've been under the weather so not much has been taken care of, so that's the goal for the week.

One of my favorite things...Mo Mo O'Brien's YouTube Videos

A few plans for the rest of the week:...tomorrow is a card making day with friend and then a writing workshop in the evening which I think will be a great start to the week.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Coldest Night of the Year

Have you heard about Coldest Night of the Year?

It is happening on Saturday, February 21st. Thousands of Canadians across the country in 80+ cities, will be walking to raise funds for select Canadian charities who serve the hungry, homeless and hurting. What I like most is the money raised in an city or region stays to help organizations in that local area.

I am walking this year to supporting Open Arms.

This is from last year's walk:
You Can Help:
1) You can sponsor me.
Visit my donation page to give online. My personal goal is $150 and my team's goal is $500.

2) You can walk.
You can sign up to walk on the Coldest Night of the Year's site. There are walks planned in cities and towns across Canada. You can be an individual walker, join a team, or create a team and ask others to join you.

Thanks for your support and remember 
it's cold out there!

About Open Arms:
In every community there are those who find themselves in dire situations, hungry, cold, and the hardest cases on the streets. Open Arms exists to serve people in these crises in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley. What I love about the organizers and volunteers is that they follow Jesus' teaching to help the least of these and give opportunities for anyone to join.

Open Arms mission is to be, "A Christian ministry offering help and hope by meeting the basic needs of our neighbors. Demonstrating grace and love, we provide physical, mental and spiritual supports together with others in our community." Theses are the ways they are currently working to meet their mandate (that I know of):
  • Drop-In Centre -the two sites are open in the mornings providing shelter, toast coffee, and through out the week art and literacy programs, Bible studies, and volunteer training.
  • Inn From the Cold -Open Arms' ordinates this emergency shelter in partnership with local churches. Each of the churches involved hosts the shelter on a different night, and I am very proud to say that my church is one of these locations. We provide the volunteers each week so that anyone who finds themselves on the street can have and a warm meal, toiletries, access to a hot shower, clean pj's if needed, and a safe place to sleep.
  • Treasure House Soup Kitchen -open Tuesdays and Thursdays from September to June.
  • S.A.F.E. Houses (Shelter Always For Everyone) - Developing safe and affordable housing for people in transition.
  • Prison Ministry Outreach to youth and adults released from correctional facilities. 
  • Savory Souls shared garden (with Edible Garden Society). 
  • Rural Food Delivery Program To Families in Crisis. 
  • Furniture Bank Partnership -that allows for the collection, storage and delivery of donated furniture and other essential household items in cooperation the existing furniture bank.

Thankful Thursday #198 -February 5

This week there is a theme the thankful list, it is telling for the type of week it's been. I am thankful for...
  • Winter tires
  • The truck that plows out my lane/driveway
  • The church's snowplow who rescued my car from the middle of the parking lot 
  • That the heater in my car works
  • Windshield wipers and below freezing wiper fluid
  • Stormed in sleepovers

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Wednesday's Weekly Sketch #4 -Forest Waterfall

I tried something new this week, a waterfall. I discovered I really don't know how to draw water which made the waterfall an interesting challenge. Sadly I did not give myself enough time to really figure it out this week, the sketch felt rushed. It does mean I'll probably be trying more water sketches over the next few weeks.
I'm also frustrated with this sketch. A large part is because I didn't give myself to finish it well. But the other frustration is quality of the scan. The lighter details are missing. It looks incomplete because anything draw with less than a 4B is missing. It's been true every week but this scan was the must frustrating. I've a few different settings and will keep playing around with the machine but at the moment I am just frustrated. Any scanner/photocopier suggestions? Do you have the same troubles? Leave any advice or your tale of woe in the comments :)

Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Simple Woman Daybook 152

FOR TODAY: February 1, 2015
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Blog.

Outside my window...it has gone from white-out blizzard conditions to a blue sky sunny day.

I am thinking about...books I am going to read next.

I am thankful that...snow plows.

In the kitchen...I've had a lot of spaghetti this week.

I am wearing...my favourite purples knit dress with a black cover and these boots:


I am creating...many card designs still. The Saturday card making craft day has been moved to this coming Saturday.

I am going...to have a very full February.

I am wondering...about which VBS theme to use this summer.

I am reading...The Hobbit, The Prisoner of Azkaban, Utmost for His Highest, The Bible.

I am hoping...to not get sick.

I am looking forward to...trying the Machi Koro expansion.

I am learning...new games.

I am hearing...the computer hum.

Around the house...I've been under the weather so not much has been taken care of, so that's the goal for the week.

One of my favorite things...snow days.

A few plans for the rest of the week:...is my busy week. There is something happening every day except Monday.

A Picture (or two) To Share:...

2015 Reading Challenges -February Review

We're a month into 2015, a perfect time to check in on the progress of the 15 reading challenges I've signed up for, here goes:

Outdo Yourself
Hosted by: Book Vixen
2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Level: I'm on Fire! -read 16+ books over last year.
My Goal: 30 books for a total of 40 read
Progress: 0 out of 30

Cloud of Witnesses
Hosted by: Becky of Operation Actually Read Bible
Level: Comfortable -6-8 Books by Christian Authors
My Goal: 6 Books Christian Authors
Progress: 1 out of 6
I read Moutain of Spices by Hannah Hunard. It was a continuation of Hinds Feet on High Places.

Operation Deeper Faith
Hosted by: Becky of Operation Actually Read Bible
Level: No Levels
My Goal: Read the Bible
Progress: 6 out of 66 Books of the Bible

Library Challenge
Hosted by: bookjourney.net
Level: Seasoned -17-22 items checked out
My Goal: 20 items checked out
Progress: 6 out of 20

Non-Fiction Reading Challenge
Hosted by: The Introverted Reader
Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net















Level: Explorer -6-10 non-fiction books
My Goal: 8 non-fiction books
Progress: 0-8

TBR Pile
Hosted by: Evie Bookish

Level: A Firm Handshake -1-10 books from "my to read" pile
My Goal: 5 books from my "to be read" pile
Progress: 0 out of 5

Flights of Fantasy
Hosted by: Alexa Loves Books

Level: No Levels
My Goal: 10 fantasy books
Progress: 4 out of 10

New Author Challenge
Hosted by: Literary Escapism
NAC.2015
Level: 15 new to me authors (I would have preferred a 5-10 level)
My Goal: 15 new to me authors
Progress: 0 out of 15

The Color Coded Reading Challenge
Hosted by: My Reader's Block

Level: No Levels
My Goal: Read 9 books that match the 9 color title/cover challenge goals
Progress: 0 out of 9

Cloak and Dagger
Hosted by: A Bookish Girl

Level: Amelia Peabody -10 mystery/suspense/thriller books
My Goal: 10 mystery books
Progress: 1 out of 10

Fairy Tale Challenge
Hosted by: Daily Prophecy
The Daily Prophecy










Level: Magic Mirror -5-9 books that retell a fairy tale
My Goal: 5 books
Progress: 0 out of 5

Audiobook Challenge
Hosted by: The Book Nympho











Level: Socially Awkward -15-20 audio books
My Goal: 15 audio books
Progress: 0 out of 15

What Would Jane Do
Hosted by: Mrs. Vucci of Writing Our Fairy Tale
Level: Jane's Wisdom -3-5 Austin or Austin inspired books and 3-5 Austin movies
My Goal: 3 books and 3 movies
Progress: 0 out of 6

Harry Potter Re-Read
Hosted by: bookjourneney.net
G2b
Level: Seventh Year -I have read all of the Harry Potter Books
My Goal: Since I missed the start of this challenge, I am going to try and re-read 1-3 before it's over to count as a win but I also want to re-read the whole series before December 31st, 2015
Progress: 2 out of 4 and 1 out of 7

Reading Challenge Addict
Hosted by: Reading Challenge Addict
Reading Challenge Addict
Level: In Flight -enter and complete 11-15 reading challenges
My Goal: 15 challenges (including this one)
Progress: 0 out of 15