September 22, 2006

Friends at last – my sewing machine and my paper

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:30 pm by skijumper

I have recently introduced my sewing machine to my paper.  They absolutely love each other.

I had seen so many examples of machine stitching in all sorts of papercraft mags that I decided to give it a go.  Well guess what – now I just can’t STOP.  I find sewing paper-to-paper and ribbon-to-paper so fast and easy that I have almost completely given up my adhesives.  I sometimes tack a piece (photo or paper) to my page before I sew with a little gluestick or sticky tab but rarely more than that.  I have also been creating cards with the technique.  Just recently my friend Kristy and I ran a cardmaking workshop highlighting 4 ‘new’ techniques.  You should have seen the puzzled looks as the ladies drifted into the room for the workshop…what on earth are those sewing machines doing here?  At any rate, the cards were a success and I have really enjoyed the result of sewing in my scrapbooks.  The stitching adds so much texture and interest to the page.

The only drawback is that my husband thinks I’m fairly wacky for combining the two creative entities. Maybe. 

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More than meets the eye

Posted in Robyn, Scrap, Uncategorized at 2:09 pm by skijumper

Who would have guessed that a website titled Australian Laser & Fax Supplies would be the source of so many interesting goodies.  I happened to stumble upon the site while looking for reasonably priced Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens.  I had seen the pack of 10 Triplus pens at Officeworks for $15.  A scrapbooking friend of mine yielded her pack of 20 at Moonlight Megascrap last week – imagine journalling in any colour!  She mentioned that she had sourced her stash through her mother’s online card supply store for a whopping $38 (no offense intended but my wallet is much too lean for such a purchase).

Before I tell you about the deal I found … let me tell you why I was searching (so desperately) for these writing tools.  I have decided to swallow my pride and actually journal by hand on my scrapbook pages.  Yes, it is a huge step for me but I think I have the courage to bite the bullet.  The truth is that trying to find time to type up all my thoughts and then print them out is just not happening in my real world!  My real world consists of one handsome husband and two very pink little girls (the very pink is in reference to their apparel not a rare skin condition). The answer is then to practice writing legibly and then scrap away!

OK, now for the deal.  I purchased the Wallet of 20 Triplus pens for only $22.40 (tax included).  The real bonus is FREE shipping on all purchases.  Wow!  Guess what, I bought a pack for my friend.

I encourage you to investigate the website – they have all sorts of great deals.  Everything from kids craft to adhesives, and even scrapbooking paper.

September 21, 2006

How to Feel at HOME in a Foreign Country

Posted in Family, Robyn at 9:41 pm by skijumper

I won’t take the credit for writing the book on “How to Feel at HOME in a Foreign Country”. However, I would like to point you to the ONE who did.
That would be GOD.

There are so many books in the bible that speak of living in a foreign land but there is one that speaks to my heart through the faith testimony of one single woman. The book of Ruth in the bible (Old Testament) is a true story of a young widow from Moab who follows her mother-in-law from her homeland to a foreign land, Judah, the land of the Jews. I would encourage you to read the story – my summary does not do it justice! It is important to note that all the men in the family have died or been killed. Ruth has lost her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law but through it all she continues to pledge allegiance to her mother-in-law regardless of the personal cost. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, is a God-fearing women and has obviously been an awesome example of Godliness. Ruth has been so impressed with the God of her mother-in-law, that she has chosen to turn from the ways of her ancestors to follow Him. As a testimony to her faith, Ruth trusts that God has a plan for her and that plan involves become a foreigner in Judah.

We live at a time when world travel is easy for so many. A time when going shopping or for coffee will more than likely put us face to face with someone from another part of the world. Within the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of speaking face to face with people from Australia, Poland, Iran, India, Syria, Sri Lanka, Korea, and Slovenia. I love to hear stories of life in countries other than the ones in which I have lived. I am trying to be a better listener as I think this helps me to settle into my ‘foreign land’. It helps me to see that, like Ruth, God has plans for me that will always take me out of my comfort zone. The challenges are part of the journey, part of God’s plan to stretch me and change me to be more Him in whose image I was created. From my study, I have learnt that Ruth was an excellent listener. She took all this new information on board, processed it and then made some great big decisions. She married a Jew, she followed his mother to Judah, she believed in the wisdom of those who loved her. She did not try to go it alone but she did put in a lot of hard work.

Ruth certainly did not have a large circle of friends. Nor did she have any of her immediate family with her (not to mention the lack of internet, email, webcams, digital cameras, etc). Instead, Ruth had a few people who loved God and loved her dearly and could see her value as a follower of God. I have several friends in my ‘foreign land’ who are heaven-sent. They call me, pray for me, study the bible with me, love my small family, spend time with me, and laugh/cry with me. These people are my true church – the body of Christ living together.

Ruth was a model of humility. She didn’t assume to know better than those around her. She didn’t snub the beliefs of her mother-in-law. She was humble enough to realise it wasn’t all about her. Let’s face it, people like you better when you approach them in a humbler manner. There is always a lot to learn in a new place so I think the best tactic is to relax and let is all sink in. Appreciate that there will be cultural differences, inconsistencies in language and possible changes in your standard of living.

God tells us in the bible that he will not test us beyond what we can endure. Ruth was a woman of endurance. God blessed Ruth richly for her faith. Now, I am not trying to equate my faith with that held by Ruth. Instead, I seek to grow toward the beauty I see in this Moabite woman. I strive daily for peace in my busy mind. I definitely believe it is a daily decision to settle into the life that has been given you: health, wealth, loved ones, and nation.

I think the best news of the day is that God tells us we are all foreigners! Yes, it is true. If you have read the bible (not necessarily the whole big book, but start with the Gospels if you don’t know where to begin) you will know that God is preparing a place called Heaven. Whoever believes that Jesus died so that we may live has the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. For real.

What have I learnt from Ruth regarding making my home in a foreign land (or, for that matter, wherever I might be living)?
TRUST IN GOD. God loves me more than anyone here in this world.
REMEMBER GOD IS THE CREATOR. God created me and He created this world. God has created other believers to fellowship with, care for, and love.
KNOW THAT GOD LOVES ME HERE, NOW, AND FOREVER. Most importantly, God has deposited the Holy Spirit in my heart as a promise that He will always be with me. A promise that no matter where I am or what I am doing, I am His into Eternity.

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September 8, 2006

Green Roofs in Canada: Who’s who? Goya Ngan Landscape Architect

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:34 pm by skijumper

Here I go again – Green Roof Mania.
This will be the first in a series of posts on one of my favourite topics in relation to sustainable development. In the past, Mike and I have spent a bit of time researching the topic culminating in a submission to the NSW Goverment ‘ Sustainable Cities’ initiative back in 2003. As we look forward to a move back to Canada which may include building or buying a house, we are once again faced with personal decisions in regards to sustainable living. We should note that we have been living very ‘unsustainably’ in poorly built homes with small gardens here in Australia…land of the burning sun and un-insulated winter mornings!

As part of my research I am looking into the Who’s Who in Green Roofs and Sustainable Living in Canada. I just came across this website and hope to read some of Ms. Ngan’s work in the next couple of days.

Goya Ngan Landscape Architect:

Green Roof Policy: Tools for Encouraging Sustainable Design” by Goya Ngan, 2004 This report contains detailed information on policies currently being used in Germany to encourage the construction of green roofs. The purpose of the report is to assist Canadian municipalities and other levels of government in incorporating green roofs into their official plans, policies and operating procedures. Partial funding was provided by the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation.

On being 4

Posted in Eden, Family at 1:11 pm by skijumper

‘I am 4 now’ is the proud introduction to all we meet these days. How great it is that Eden is 4. She must have grown 7 or 8 centimetres in the last month. She can open the front door, open the fridge, open her yogurt, fetch a spoon.

Eden is also extremely stubborn, strong-willed, impatient and selfish. Aren’t we all? I know that Eden will learn more self-control this year and in the years to come. I look forward to getting to know her more with each passing year. I look forward to more peaceful days but I will also miss the curious questions, the wonder and awe, the reliance on mommy and daddy, the cuddles, the joy in simple things, the sheltered life of a four year old. I can hardly believe that in one year my baby will be in kindergarten.

Eden is her own little person. She enjoys a great many things including:
toast with honey, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, lollies, chocolate, puzzles, baby dolls, barbie, kids tv, videos, books, the library, the coffee shop, parties, friends (amy, emily, alyssa, aiden, josh, emily, laura), nail polish, bathtime, chicken nuggets, pink milk, juice, bubbles, games, dress-up dollies, playdoh, matching games, snap, baking, cooking, plastic bead art, painting, imaginary games.

Nyssa sings

Posted in Family, Nyssa at 1:01 pm by skijumper

I don’t think anyone other than Mike and I would understand what Nyssa is doing. However, when we ask her to sing a song we can decipher that she is singing ‘twinkle, twinkle’. It is certainly not by the words or the tune that we know rather it is the slow repetitive rhythm, the rhyming sounds at the end of the sentence, and the proud ‘yaye’ that follows her musical interlude.

This has to be one of the greatest joys of being a parent – watching your child grow, learn and thrive in the home where our goal as parents is to nurture, love, and guide. Nyssa brings us joy in her simple song. She brings us joy when she tries to tickle herself ‘ticky,ticky’. The girls bring us joy when they embrace and kiss or when they comfort each other as one cries. Eden brings me joy when she gladly relinquishes a toy that Nyssa is calling for.

Thanks to God for children. Although a mountain of responsibility they are such funny, sweet little creatures.

The end of an era

Posted in Eden, Family, Nyssa, Robyn at 12:54 pm by skijumper

Today marks the end of an era. Today is the first day that I have encouraged Eden to simply have a rest – I have not enforced the sleep.

The problem is that there is no way to make a child sleep if they are not sleepy or are simply to stubborn to rest their head and shut their eyes. I have no doubt that Eden would sleep if she would just shut her eyes for ten seconds. However, Eden has turned 4 and is getting to be such a big girl that I am now encouraging her to have a 1 hour rest time in her room. She must lay down initially but is then free to play quietly with her toys or books.

Rest time is a fabulous thing. It is my sanity saver with two little girls holding my attention all day, every day. I love my girls but I also love my rest. It means I can have a little head space to type, call friends, drink a cuppa, scrapbook, sew, vacuum or sleep ; ) Rest time for the girls gives them time to develop self-awareness. Eden learns that it is enjoyable to play quietly on your own. No sharing, no squabbles, no toddler smacking your head. Nyssa, upon waking, has the chance to develop and practise her speech.

I know that rest is good for even God rested following Creation!